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February 10, 2016

New York City service contractor held liable for wages, benefits, interest and the payment of a civil penalty for its failure to pay employees prevailing wages and benefits


New York City service contractor held liable for wages, benefits, interest and the payment of a civil penalty for its failure to pay employees prevailing wages and benefits
Office of the City Comptroller v Paramount Security Group, Inc., OATH Index No. 2553/15

Paramount Security Group, Inc., a services contractor admitted to failing to pay prevailing wages and benefits of $1.8 million to 28 security employees working at the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) offices.

It was undisputed that Paramount failed to pay prevailing wages to its security employees from December 2010 to March 2013. Paramount, however alleged that the entire blame for this violation was on HHC, which Paramount insisted prevented compliance with the prevailing wage law by refusing to approve increased wages.

OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner found that “the notion that Paramount knowingly violated the terms of its contract based upon verbal directions of HHC personnel, without protesting or seeking approval from a higher authority, was highly improbable” as the contract between Paramount and HHC provided, in pertinent part, that during the term of this agreement, “the contractor shall be responsible for paying the prevailing wage rate in New York City to all of its security guards.” The contract also provided that HHC was “not responsible for any type of payroll increase . . . . [e]xcluding prevailing wage requirements” [emphasis supplied].

The ALJ held that the evidence supports a finding that Paramount’s violations of Labor Law §230 were willful was liable for the wages, benefits due the employees, plus interest and a civil penalty. As to interest, Judge Spooner held that the Comptroller was entitled to  maximum interest, at the annual rate of 16%, from the date the wages and benefits were payable and in addition, Paramount should be assessed a civil penalty of 25% of the total violation.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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