Blue Line Drywall and Builders Inc. and NJ West Construction Inc. face penalties for issues ranging from wage violations to improper classification of workers, affecting a total of 13 employees.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development's (NJDOL) Division of Wage and Hour and Contract Compliance has issued stop-work orders to two subcontractors, Blue Line Drywall and Builders Inc. of North Brunswick and NJ West Construction Inc. of Manville. The orders were initiated on July 18, 2023, affecting work at a construction site in Newark, New Jersey, that specializes in drywall installation for an apartment/retail community.
Both subcontractors were working on a project located at 355/365 Broad St., Newark, NJ 07104. They were targeted as part of NJDOL’s Strategic Enforcement initiative focusing on the drywall industry. The investigation revealed multiple violations, including improper classification of construction workers, failure to pay minimum wages, and lapses in earned sick leave notifications.
The Companies and Violations
Blue Line Drywall and Builders Inc., which employed NJ West Construction Inc., was the first to receive a stop-work order, affecting nine workers. On the same day, NJ West Construction Inc. was also slapped with an order, affecting four of their employees. Collectively, these actions mark the 141st and 142nd stop-work orders issued by the NJDOL since its powers were expanded in July 2019.
Blue Line Drywall and Builders Inc. has requested a hearing and an adjournment to challenge the stop-work order. Meanwhile, NJ West Construction Inc. has not requested a hearing, making their stop-work order currently active. Employers have the right to appeal stop-work orders, and if so, the NJDOL must schedule a hearing within seven days.
NJDOL has the authority to impose civil penalties of $5,000 per day for each day an employer violates the stop-work order. The order can be lifted only after any outstanding back wages and penalties are paid, and all issues have been resolved.
The issuance of stop-work orders serves as a cautionary tale to contractors and subcontractors in the drywall industry and beyond. The NJDOL is intensifying its efforts to ensure compliance with state labor laws and to protect workers from exploitation. Affected workers are encouraged to visit myworkrights.nj.gov for more information on worker benefits and protections.
For those in need of further details, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides ongoing updates and resources on its website.