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Contractor Charged with Felony Wage Theft Following Death of Worker

Connecticut newspaper The Stamford Advocate reported that subcontractor John Dosky, owner of American Building Group LLC, was recently arrested by Connecticut State Police for wage theft violations against three brothers, one of whom died from a fall while working for him.  Dosky was charged with three felony counts of “failure to pay wages” for owing the brothers almost $8,000 in unpaid wages.  The Department of Labor is also taking action against his company for misclassifying these and other employees as independent contractors, a practice known as payroll fraud.

The death occurred in October after 36-year-old Javiar Salinas fell more than 50 feet at the Chelsea Piers sports complex construction site in Stamford.  An article in The Danbury News-Times reported that Salinas’ estate is filing suit against each of his employers, including the developers (Chelsea Piers Connecticut LLC and Stamford Exit 9 LLC), contractor (Merritt Contractors Inc), subcontractor (AP Construction), and the sub-sub contractor (Dosky’s company, American Building LLC), because Salinas was not wearing a safety harness when he climbed to the roof that day, allowing a gust of wind to knock him off of the roof.

After the accident, Javiar’s brothers went to the Department of Labor to seek help in collecting the wages owed to them.  The Advocate article explains:

“On Nov. 10, Resa Spaziani, a supervisor with the Wage and Workplace Standards Division of the labor department, met with Brian and Washington Salinas, who said they attempted to negotiate three checks made to them by Dosky.  The checks bounced because of insufficient funds, the affidavit said. They had used the money to bury their brother, and their repeated calls to Dosky went unanswered.”

Dosky was arraigned today in Connecticut’s Superior Court in Stamford, where he appeared without an attorney and did not enter a plea.  He claimed Salinas’ death was nothing more than an accident, according to a report by Greenwich Time.  That article also reported:

“A group of about 20 union carpenters from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America protested at the front entrance of state Superior Court in Stamford on Hoyt Street before Dosky's court appearance. The action featured a giant, inflatable rat and signs that referred to the accident as negligent homicide.”

Perhaps the felony counts that Dosky now faces will encourage contactors such as this to change their unscrupulous practices, and begin to treat their employees with basic respect, including paying wages when wages are earned.

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