NYC Bar Association Construction Law Committee Issues Recommended Revisions of Wage Theft Bill

Robinson+Cole Construction Law Zone

Proposed New York legislation that would expose general contractors to increased liability for their subcontractors’ alleged wage theft is the subject of a new Report, co-authored by myself, issued by the New York City Bar Association’s Construction Law Committee. In the Report, the Committee urges the legislature to carefully consider the ramifications of enacting A.3350 and S.2766-A (collectively the “Bill”) in their current forms. The Bill proposes adding section 198-e to the Labor Law to permit a private right of action to hold a general contractor “jointly and severally liable for any unpaid wages, benefits, wage supplements, penalties, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and any other costs” owed a laborer for work performed on behalf of any lower-tiered subcontractor. The Committee opined that such a law would add a burden on general contractors well beyond their actual role; would likely result in increased construction project costs and decreased development; would have a disparate impact on small contractors, thereby limiting opportunities for Minority/Woman-Owned Business Entities (“M/WBEs”); and would stunt economic growth, thereby reducing job opportunities for laborers, the very population the Bill seeks to protect. A full copy of the Report can be found here.

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