Dec-09-13 NJ Division of Consumer Affairs Announces Settlement with Unregistered Idaho-Based Temp Firm That Hired New Jerseyans for Post-Sandy Cleanup Work
Settlement Includes $10,000 Donation to American Red Cross for Ongoing Sandy Relief Efforts
From approximately November 2012 until approximately mid-March 2013, Command Center operated out of temporary offices in Newark and Paterson, where it engaged local residents to perform post-Sandy cleanup jobs for third-party employers. Temporary help service firms are required to register with the State Division of Consumer Affairs, and obtain a $1,000 bond, in order to legally operate in New Jersey.
Prior to the settlement announced today, Command Center reached a separate settlement with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under which the company paid a total of more than $2,844 in back wages to 13 temporary employees in New Jersey. The Department of Labor has distributed the full amount to the employees.
The Division of Consumer Affairs and Department of Labor jointly investigated Command Center in response to complaints in November that the company failed to properly pay some of its temporary workers.
“The post-Sandy recovery effort has attracted a number of businesses to New Jersey. We continue to work tirelessly to ensure that any out-of-state company seeking to do business here, from home improvement contractors to temp firms, will comply with New Jersey’s laws or face significant penalties,” Attorney General Hoffman said.
Commissioner Harold J. Wirths of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development said, “The complaints from workers came into my department while our state was still picking up the pieces after Superstorm Sandy. It took some time to check into their allegations that wages were improperly withheld, but we were pleased to conclude our end of this matter earlier this fall by getting each of the 13 workers their back-pay in full.”
Today’s settlement with the Division of Consumer Affairs, resolves the Division’s investigation into Command Center’s unregistered operation in New Jersey. In its settlement with the Division of Consumer Affairs, Command Center agreed to pay $27,800 which will include a $10,000 donation to the American Red Cross, Northern New Jersey chapter, specifically for ongoing Sandy relief efforts.
The settlement with the Division of Consumer Affairs also includes $15,000 in civil penalties, and approximately $2,800 to reimburse the Division’s investigative costs. The company also noted that it has ceased operation as a temporary help service firm in New Jersey, and will not operate here again without being duly registered.
“New Jersey requires temp firms to obtain a $1,000 bond and meet other registration requirements, in order to protect consumers,” Director Kanefsky said. “Even during the difficult period following a disaster like Sandy, we will not permit any out-of-state business to put New Jerseyans at risk by violating our laws.”
Command Center made no admission of liability as to any allegation or investigative matter. The company fully cooperated with the Division’s investigation.
Investigators Vincent Buonanno and Ediz Laypan, of the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, conducted this investigation. Deputy Attorney General/Assistant Chief Patricia Schiripo, of the Division of Law, represented the State in this matter.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect
any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of
Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within
New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.