noun_417329Usually, punishment for wage theft is depressingly low – pay the money you owe the workers (who are now broke), and a small fine. No wonder it’s more common than robbery.

So when a company gets a lifetime ban from performing tax-funded government work, it’s time for a little dancing.

Cornerstone Janitorial, a repeat offender that had already paid nearly $200,000 in back wages last year, is now coughing up $144,000 and is barred from ever doing work for the State of Oregon. These were  “prevailing wage” violations, where state governments require contractors to pay their workers at least the typical rate for the work performed (the federal version is called the Davis-Bacon Act).

In this case, investigators found that workers (usually undocumented) were being paid (only in cash) just one-third the prevailing wage for the work they did. The $144,000 will be paid to 46 workers (averaging $3,130 per worker).

Separately, the state published a list of 58 contractors barred from government work, with one banned until 2025 and an additional contractor banned for life.

Kudos to the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries. Rock on.