Last year, the JTF recovered $15.6 million in unpaid wages, back taxes, unemployment insurance premiums, fines and penalties. Today, JTF has grown to 17 state and federal agencies and advocate organizations and since its inception has collected nearly $56 million from unscrupulous businesses. When unscrupulous employers engage in the fraudulent employment practices of the underground economy, workers are denied basic workplace rights and protections, consumers are subject to unregulated goods and services, legitimate businesses are put at a disadvantage and the Commonwealth loses revenue.
Governor Deval Patrick established the Joint Task Force through an Executive Order in March 2008. The idea was to bring together multiple state and federal agencies to share information and work cooperatively in investigating and prosecuting employers who violate labor, licensing and tax laws. Governor Patrick signed legislation making the JTF a permanent investigatory unit by January 2015.
As detailed in its 2013 Annual Report, the JTF received 176 direct tips through the tip line and online referral service along with hundreds of complaints made directly to partner agencies. In addition to thousands of compliance checks, the JTF’s investigative work included 103 stop work orders issued by the Department of Industrial Accidents, 32 civil citations issued by the Attorney General’s Office and 124 investigations by the Department of Revenue.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated and businesses who suspect they are at an economic disadvantage because of unscrupulous competitors are urged to call the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Hotline at 617-727-3465, the JTF Referral Line at 877-965-2267, email tips to JTFTips@state.ma.us or submit complaints at www.mass.gov/lwd/jtf.
Law Enforcement and Recreationalists: Be Aware of Lead Hazards at Shooting Ranges posted on Oct 24
Each year there are shooters, instructors, and maintenance staff that become sick from lead poisoning received at their firing range.
Lead Poisoning in Adults posted on Oct 22
The Occupational Lead Poisoning Registry is dedicated to reducing the incidence and severity of lead poisoning among Massachusetts workers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown that even at very low levels, such as 5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl), lead can cause significant health problems.
MA Regulation Requires Contractors to Work Lead-Safe by Preventing the Spread of Lead Dust During Renovation, Repair, and Painting Projects posted on Oct 17
Homes and other structures built before 1978 may contain lead paint. Lead-contaminated dust can cause lead poisoning in children, pregnant women, contractors, and other workers, their families, and even pets.