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State department of labor issues stop-work orders

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published January 23. 2013 4:00AM

The state has issued stop-work orders to 25 companies over the past few months, including one doing renovations in Mystic, related to alleged violations of labor laws.

The state Department of Labor said Tuesday that a stop-work order was issued Dec. 14 to Waterbury-based G. Loja Construction as it was doing work at 30 Williams Ave. in Mystic, site of Sea Swirl.

The Labor Department said the stop-work orders, issued between Oct. 24 and Jan. 8, were related to the misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees. This allows employers to avoid obligations to provide workers' compensation, pay unemployment taxes and report on their payrolls.

"Unfortunately, when an employer does not pay its fair share and a worker gets hurt on the job or is laid off, the state's taxpayers ultimately foot the bill," said state Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer in a statement.

Of those cited in the latest report, nearly half were from out of state. Besides Loja Construction, the in-state companies cited were: Governor's Tavern, CJR Construction, TBR Marin LLC, Danemi's Flooring, Lasko Construction, Legion LLC, P.H. Siding & Roofing, Carpentry Cabinets LLC, Capital Construction, All Commercial Roofing & Painting, Stephen Palmiotto and C Cardona LLC.

Out-of-state firms cited were: Durable Floors of Main, New England Sports Floor of Massachusetts, Rebar Reinforcement Placers of Texas, Anchor Wood Framing Corp. of New Jersey, D&M Trimming & Cabinets of New Jersey, Gamma Construction of New York, GK Construction of New York, USFNE of Maine, New Walk Home Improvement of New Jersey, CRR Construction LLC of Georgia, RD Stucco LLC of Virginia and JD Music of Ohio.

The state has issued nearly 900 stop-work orders since enforcement of the misclassification rule started six years ago. In the past year, the Labor Department's Division of Wage and Workplace Standards has inspected slightly more than 100 worksites and reviewed records of nearly 300 contractors while issuing 192 stop-work orders.

Labor Department stop-work orders require companies to halt all operations at a construction site and pay a $300 penalty for each day it has failed to pay into the workers' compensation fund.

The state has collected more than $500,000 over the years from the misclassification-enforcement program. Referrals for further investigation have also been made to the state Department of Revenue Services and the Labor Department's tax division. More information can be found at www.ct.gov/dol.

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