State orders 13 companies to stop work

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The state Department of Labor has issued stop-work orders to 13 companies, including one doing a job in New London and three others in Preston.

The companies - NLP Contractors, working at the New London Plaza Hotel in New London, and Commercial Glass Fabrication, Four Star Drywall and Interior Partitions Specialists working at 11 Watson Road in Preston - are accused of using misclassified workers.

The Labor Department said the companies were misclassifying workers as independent contractors, thereby avoiding obligations to provide workers' compensation, pay unemployment taxes and report on their payrolls.

The companies told to stop work received the orders between April 12 and May 7.

"Companies issued a stop work order have 10 days to appeal the decision," the Labor Department said. "Once a cited employer provides proof of appropriate coverage, work at that site is allowed to resume."

This is the second time in the past three months that work at the New London Plaza Hotel has been stopped. The Labor Department said last month that it had issued stop-work orders in late March to the North Carolina-based Sandoval Construction, which had been making improvements at the former Radisson Hotel at 35 Gov. Winthrop Blvd.

The work complaints led to a protest last month at the site, staged by the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

The state over the past year has inspected 167 construction sites, reviewed the records of nearly 700 contractors and issued about 281 stop-work orders. One hundred sixteen of the orders have been issued to out-of-state companies, which face fines of $300 for each day they fail their legal obligation to carry workers' compensation coverage.

The state since October 2007 has collected $285,000 in civil penalties for misclassification of workers.

For more information or to report suspicious activity, go to www.ct.gov/dol.

l.howard@theday.com

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