§ 37-26-7. Enforcement.
(a) The director of labor and training may promulgate reasonable rules and regulations to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(b) Before issuing an order or determination, the director of labor and training shall order a hearing thereon at a time and place to be specified, and shall give notice thereof, together with a copy of the complaint or the purpose thereof, or a statement of the facts disclosed upon investigation, which notice shall be served personally or by mail on any person, firm, or corporation affected thereby. The person, firm, or corporation shall have an opportunity to be heard in respect to the matters complained of at the time and place specified in the notice, which time shall be not less than five (5) days from the service of the notice personally or by mail. The hearing shall be held within ten (10) days from the order of hearing. The hearing shall be conducted by the director of labor and training or the director’s designee. The hearing officer in the hearing shall have the right to issue subpoenas, administer oaths, and examine witnesses. The enforcement of a subpoena issued under this section shall be regulated by the Rhode Island superior court rules of civil procedure. The hearing shall be expeditiously conducted, and upon such hearing, the hearing officer shall determine the issues raised thereon and shall make a determination and enter an order within ten (10) days of the close of the hearing, and forthwith serve a copy of the order, with a notice of the filing thereof, upon the parties to the proceeding, personally or by mail. The order shall dismiss the charges or direct payment of wages or supplements found to be due, including interest at the rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum from the date of the underpayment to the date of payment, and may direct payment of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the complaining party.
(c) In addition to directing payment of wages or supplements including interest found to be due, the order shall also require payment of a further sum as a civil penalty in an amount up to three (3) times the total amount found to be due. Further, if the amount of salary owed to an employee pursuant to this chapter but not paid to the employee in violation thereof exceeds five thousand dollars ($5,000), it shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be referred to the office of the attorney general. The misdemeanor shall be punishable for a period of not more than one year in prison and/or a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). In assessing the amount of the penalty, due consideration shall be given to the size of the employer’s business, the good faith of the employer, the gravity of the violation, the history of previous violations, and the failure to comply with recordkeeping or other nonwage requirements. The surety of the person, firm, or corporation found to be in violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be bound to pay any penalties assessed on such person, firm, or corporation. The penalty shall be paid to the department of labor and training for deposit in the state treasury; provided, however, it is hereby provided that the general treasurer shall establish a dedicated “standard compensation enforcement fund” for the purpose of depositing the penalties paid as provided herein. There is hereby appropriated to the annual budget of the department of labor and training the amount of the fund collected annually under this section, to be used at the direction of the director of labor and training for the sole purpose of enforcing standard compensation as provided in this chapter.
(d) For the purposes of this chapter, each day or part thereof in violation of any provision of this chapter by a person, firm, or corporation, whether the violation is continuous or intermittent, shall constitute a separate and succeeding violation.
(e) In addition to the above, any person, firm, or corporation found in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter by the director of labor and training or the director’s hearing officer, shall be ineligible to bid on, or be awarded work by a state purchasing entity or perform any such work for a period of no less than eighteen (18) months and no more than thirty-six (36) months from the date of the order entered by the hearing officer. Once a person, firm, or corporation is found to be in violation of this chapter, all pending bids with a state purchasing entity shall be revoked, and any bid awarded by a state purchasing entity prior to the commencement of the work shall also be revoked.
(f) In addition to the above, any person, firm, or corporation found to have committed two (2) or more willful violations in any period of eighteen (18) months of any of the provisions of this chapter by the hearing officer, which violations are not arising from the same incident, shall be ineligible to bid on, or be awarded work by a state purchasing entity or perform any work for a period of sixty (60) months from the date of the second violation.
(g) The order of the hearing officer shall remain in full force and effect unless stayed by order of the superior court.
(h) In addition to the above, any person, firm, or corporation found to have willfully made a false or fraudulent representation on certified payroll records shall be referred to the office of the attorney general. A first violation of this section shall be considered a misdemeanor and shall be punishable for a period of not more than one year in prison and/or a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000). A second or subsequent violation of this section shall be considered a felony and shall be punishable for a period of not more than three (3) years imprisonment, a fine of three thousand dollars ($3,000), or both. Further, any person, firm, or corporation found to have willfully made a false or fraudulent representation on certified payroll records shall be required to pay a civil penalty to the department of labor and training in an amount of no less than two thousand dollars ($2,000) and not greater than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) per representation.
(i) Any effort of any employer to obstruct the director and the director’s authorized representatives in the performance of their duties shall be deemed a violation of this chapter and punishable as such.
(j) The director and the director’s authorized representatives shall have power to administer oaths and examine witnesses under oath, issue subpoenas, subpoenas duces tecum, compel the attendance of witnesses, and the production of papers, books, accounts, records, payrolls, documents, and testimony, and to take depositions and affidavits in any proceeding before the director.
(k) In case of failure of any person to comply with any subpoena lawfully issued, or subpoena duces tecum, or on the refusal of any witness to testify to any matter regarding which he or she may be lawfully interrogated, the provisions of chapter 35 of title 42 (“administrative procedures”) shall apply.
(l) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any employer who shall violate or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each separate offense, or by imprisonment of up to one year, or by both fine and imprisonment. Each day of failure to pay wages due an employee at the time specified in this chapter shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
(m) The director is hereby empowered to enforce the director’s decision in the superior court for the county of Providence.
History of Section.
P.L. 2022, ch. 232, § 1, effective June 28, 2022; P.L. 2022, ch. 233, § 1, effective June 28, 2022.