Working in Worcester? My Employer Says I Did…

Dear Compliance Man,

I recently got a mailing from you folks and it showed me working on a construction project way out in Worcester. Well, I’ve never worked out there. So why would my name show up on some project that I’ve never worked on?

— Confused in Canton

Dear Confused,

Unfortunately the situation you described happens all too often.

Here’s how it works: Massachusetts requires every contractor who works on public construction projects to submit certified payrolls to the state, showing who’s working on the project and how much they’re getting paid. Some contractors pad their payrolls with fake names to avoid paying the legally-mandated wage. Some of these ghost workers are just that—ghosts—but others are like you, real folks who are listed on projects they’ve never worked on.

So what does it mean for you? Other than an unpleasant surprise, not much. But for the employer who misused your name, it’s likely to mean all sorts of trouble. Contractors who pad their payrolls with “ghosts” often have plenty to hide, and the Attorney General won’t hesitate to look into this contractor’s story.

Thanks for writing!

For more commonly asked Compliance Man questions, visit the Compliance Man archives. Send your question to info@ffcm.org.