April 20, 2015
Reporter's Notebook

State wants to increase stop-work order fines

Resa Spaziani is a key enforcer of Connecticut’s labor laws.

State regulators are looking to get tougher on employers that skirt Connecticut's labor laws.

The legislature's Labor and Public Employees Committee recently approved a bill that increases fines on employers who violate stop-work orders to $2,500 per day from $1,000 per day.

Stop-work orders are issued by the state Department of Labor to employers who knowingly misrepresent employees as independent contractors, or fail to pay worker's compensation insurance or minimum wage, among other violations.

The Hartford Business Journal reported last November that the labor department was increasing its efforts to crackdown on Connecticut's underground economy.

But state labor investigators have warned that the current civil penalty of $1,000 per day isn't a sufficient deterrent, causing some companies to ignore stop-work orders and continue jobs even though they are violating state law.

The Foundation for Fair Contracting in Connecticut, an organization that lobbies for construction worker's fair wages, suggested the state increase the penalty to $10,000 per day but Labor and Public Employees Committee members agreed to only a $2,500 fine.

The measure has support from the state Department of Labor. The bill is now headed to the Senate.

— Greg Bordonaro

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