71 stop-work orders issued by NJ Labor Dept. since July 2019
From an internet radio station, to medical offices, dozens of New Jersey operations over the past three years have been ordered to temporarily shut down due to strong evidence that their workers are being exploited.
According to an update offered on Wednesday by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the department has issued 71 stop-work orders since a law was signed in 2019 that gave the department the power to make the move.
Through those stop-work orders, agents found nearly $1 million in back wages owed to 235 workers, the department said.
Most orders are issued due to employers not having workers' compensation insurance or misclassifying employees as independent contractors. In other cases, employees were going unpaid or shorted, or paid off the books — in these cases, employers likely aren't making their required contributions to the state's unemployment trust fund.
From July 2019 through July 2022, Hudson and Ocean counties recorded the most stop-work orders (10 apiece). Eight were recorded in both Middlesex and Monmouth counties.
Typically, the matters are resolved in a matter of a few days, according to DOL. Sometimes, they're resolved on the spot when the order is delivered.
Fifty-seven of the 71 orders involved construction jobs. Investigations led to 11 contractors being prohibited from engaging in future public works jobs.
Prior to the 2019 law, according to DOL, work stoppages could only be utilized in cases where an employer amassed a history of violations.