A Bowie, Md., concrete subcontractor must pay 55 of its workers a total of more than $186,000 in back pay for wrongly classifying them on a federally funded affordable housing project in Washington, D.C., following an investigation by the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.

The year-long probe into employment practices at V&V Construction, completed in February 2021, focused on concrete installation work performed by the company August 2018 at Liberty Place Apartments, under subcontract to prime contractor Hamel Builders of Washington LLC. The project, completed in 2020, had received U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development funding via the District of Columbia Dept. of Housing and Community Development.

V&V Construction and its attorney did not respond to a request for comment.

According to a May 8 Dept. of Labor statement, the investigation concluded that V&V Construction, owner Carlos Vicente and office manager Cristina Vicente violated several provisions of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA), including failure to pay prevailing wage rates and fringe benefits by wrongly classifying journey workers as laborers. Instead, the workers were paid a split rate of 25 hours per week as full journey workers and 15 hours per week as skilled laborers, the agency said. The erroneous classification also meant that the workers did not receive overtime pay as required by the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

Investigators also found that V&V Construction had submitted falsified payroll records and failed to prove it had displayed required worksite posters.

After being notified of the investigation’s findings, V&V Construction initially requested a hearing with a Dept. of Labor administrative law judge. The company subsequently reached a settlement with the department to resolve the matter without further litigation, the announcement said. 

Consent findings issued by Dept.of Labor Administrative Law Judge Theodore Annos uphold the investigation’s findings and require V&V Construction to pay the affected employees $186,124 in back wages. The company has also agreed to enhanced compliance, including 18 months of independent monitoring of its DBRA contracts.