LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- An estimated 22 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed by the nation's biggest violators of federal workplace safety and wage laws—government contractors.
A study by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee not only highlighted the rampant labor law compliance problem in the U.S., it showed that the problem is so rampant that not even employees working for the government are immune from being affected by wage theft and other labor law violations, says LA wage and hour lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP.
The study also revealed that companies holding federal contracts make up 30 percent of the top wage and safety violators in the U.S. The federal government disburses $500 billion every year in contracts for goods and services.
In fact, 18 federal contractors were among the top companies to face the highest penalties issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from 2007 to 2012, which included companies like BP, Louis Dreyfus Group (Imperial Sugar), Cintas, GM, and Chrysler.
Tragically, 42 people lost their lives during this period due to these OSHA violations.
In 2012, half of the initial OSHA penalties were levied against federal contractors, which included "severe violations" levied against companies like Bridgford Foods, CHS (Cenex Harvest States), Johnson Controls, Tyson Foods, Verizon Communications, Bartlett and Company, and Blackstone Group. These violations were deemed "willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations" that resulted in employee deaths, exposures to the most severe hazards, hazards related to chemical releases, CBS News reported.
HP, Manpower, AT&T, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Nestle, Home Depot, and Vanderbilt University were also among the 32 federal contractors that were part of the largest 100 back wage assessments from 2007 through 2012. Sprint Nextel, UnitedHealth, Marriott International, C&S Wholesale Grocers (Piggly Wiggly) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center received penalties during this time for "severe and repeated violations of wage law."
During the same period, another 35 contractors were issued penalties for both wage and safety law violations.
The 49 contractors in total were cited for 1,776 separate occurrences, which collectively resulted in $196 million in penalties and assessments during that same time period.
Although the Clean Contracting Act of 2008 was created to combat these types of issues, poor data, lack of effective data-sharing capabilities and expertise was cited by the study to be the main driving force in its ineffectiveness.
"The only true way to end illegal safety and wage practices is for employees to speak up about what's going on at their job," says LA wage and hour lawyer Eric Grover. "The failure of government oversight of existing regulations has ultimately put justice back in the hands of employees who can report wage and safety violations. Speaking up through a wage and hour attorney can help avoid wage theft and even more importantly, save your life or that of your co-workers."
Information contained in this article was sourced from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-contractors-are-big-labor-law-violators.
Media Contact: Eric Grover, Keller Grover LLP, 213.493.6345, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Keller Grover LLP