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Jun
2015
26

Misclassification of Electricians as Laborers Puts New Bedford Co. $125,000 in the Hole

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A New Bedford-based solar company has been ordered to pay over $125,000 in back wages and penalties for violations of Massachusetts’ prevailing wage and hinderance laws.  The office of Attorney General Maura Healey claims that  Cavallo-Cavallo, Inc., doing business as Beaumont Solar Co., and owner Phillip V. Cavallo should pay nearly $83,000 in restitution and $42,500 in penalties. This includes a $10,000 penalty for hindrance of the AG’s investigation.  

In a statement, AG Healey wrote:

“We are committed to ensuring that all workers receive the wages that they are entitled to.  Contractors that violate prevailing wage laws take advantage of their employees and misuse taxpayer dollars. Our office will hold these companies accountable for this type of conduct.”

The investigation began in September of 2013 when the the AG’s Fair Labor Division office was referred to the case by the National Electrical Contractors Association.  The investigation found that Beaumont Solar Co. misclassified many of its electricians as laborers and paid others apprenticeship wages despite not having the required number of electricians on site.  This misclassification allowed the company to pay workers $54 per hour instead of the prevailing wage of $74. The investigation also found that the company made improper deductions to the prevailing wage.  

In the end, the AG’s office found that the company had underpaid 18 employees and failed to provide accurate certified payrolls.  It also found that the company attempted to hinder the AG’s investigation by attempting to obtain false statements from an employee concerning the company’s business practices.  

Speaking to South Coast Today, the company’s owner Phillip Cavallo denied all charges:  

We were very available and compliant with this investigation and everything they asked for.  The definition of an electrician is archaic and cryptic.”

Cavallo indicated that he planned to appeal the AG’s decision.  

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