Dating back to 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act requires workers for federal construction and other public works projects be paid decent wages and include benefits. Additionally, these rates have to be the same as those paid to tradesmen and women for similar projects in the same area. The US Department of Labor sets these rates and uses contracts to enforce them.
Every week the contractor provides payroll certificates showing what the company paid each employee. This is proof of compliance. However, not all contractors follow the law. Some fail to submit the required wage certifications or even falsify the certifications. They will say they are paying higher wages but are not. These falsehoods cheat workers from a fair wage, brings illegal profits and violated federal law. This is also a form of Government Contract Fraud.
Example of False Compliance
In 2010, Circle Construction violated the Davis-Bacon Act and False Claims Act. A federal court judge ruled that the construction contractor failed to ensure that its electrical subcontractor paid living wages to electrical workers as required by the Davis-Bacon Act. Circle Construction even filed false certifications. As a result, the court ordered the contractor to pay $1.6 million plus additional costs.
The company won a bid to erect buildings for the U.S. Army at the Fort Campbell military facility in Clarksville, Tennessee. The Department of Labor found 62 inaccuracies including false payroll certifications. These violations included failure to list its electrical subcontractor on its payroll, failure to submit a separate payroll certification for the electrical subcontractor, and failure to pay electricians the prevailing wages required by Davis-Bacon Act. The government paid Circle Construction over half a million dollars for the project.
Whistle Blowers Help America
Whistleblowers with knowledge of contractors filing false claims in violation of the Davis-Bacon Act can help stop such wage abuses. They can pursue False Claims Act cases on the government’s behalf. This helps workers receive a fair wage that is the law. Also, whistleblowers are entitled to up to 30% of recoverable assets.
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