Madigan: More than $1 million in wages, benefits returned to Illinois workers in 2012

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Jan. 24 that her office recovered more than $1 million in wages and benefits owed to Illinois workers in 2012.

“The law requires that Illinoisans be compensated for the work they perform, but as these cases demonstrate, employers far too often attempt to cheat workers out of wages and benefits they have earned,” Madigan said. “I will continue to prosecute employers who violate the law by failing to pay the full wages their employees are due.”

Last year, Madigan’s office collected $1,049,392 in wage and benefit claims referred to her office by the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) for violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act, the Minimum Wage Law and the Prevailing Wage Act. Madigan’s office initiated 473 new lawsuits in 2012 to collect wages and penalties owed to Illinois workers.

Recent claims successfully litigated by Madigan’s office include the following:

• Brightstar Healthcare in Gurnee agreed to pay more than $118,000 after previously failing to pay overtime wages owed to more than 20 employees;

• Clarence Davids & Co. in Matteson paid more than $68,000 to settle a prevailing wage claim;

• Eckland Consultants, Inc., in Lincolnshire paid more than $44,000 for back pay and accrued vacation pay for an employee under the Wage Payment and Collection Act;

• Pedro Valdivia d/b/a V&A Landscaping in Elgin agreed to pay more than $96,000 after previously failing to pay prevailing wages to nine employees; and

• American Spring Wire of Kankakee paid more than $44,000 in Wage Payment and Collection Act claims on behalf of approximately 20 employees.

“Our department works diligently to ensure thousands of Illinois workers receive the wages they’ve earned,” said Joseph Costigan, director of the Illinois Department of Labor. “With the assistance and support of the attorney general’s office, we will continue our joint effort to help workers recover owed wages and ensure a level playing field for employers who abide by the law.”

Madigan helped author an amendment to the Prevailing Wage Act effective Jan. 1, 2012, to increase enforcement, bring about greater compliance and prevent fraud. The new law makes violations of the Prevailing Wage Act a class A misdemeanor and prohibits those convicted of violating the act from working on taxpayer-funded public projects for four years.