The Saddle Brook-based public construction contractor UniMak is barred from doing any government work for the next three years following a series of wage theft schemes against its employees, several state authorities jointly announced in a March 15 statement.
UniMak, according to the state’s Office of Attorney General Gubir Grewal, demanded cash kickbacks from seven employees between 2013 and 2018 doing work on government construction contracts in order to secure future paychecks.
Employee paychecks were typically accompanied with notes indicating how much they owed the payroll manager – Toni Jovanoski – and failure to pay that amount meant “they would not receive subsequent paychecks,” Grewal’s office said.
It is not clear what public construction projects UniMak was doing work on where the alleged wage theft violations transpired.
UniMak and Jovanoski will have to pay back over $1 million in restitution to the seven employees and will be barred from doing any government work for the next three years.
“We won’t tolerate corporate officials who cheat their workers and illegally enrich themselves and their businesses with public funds,” Grewal said in a March 15 statement.
Those seven employees were frequently cheated in overtime costs and other public works project hours they did work on.
“Public contracting is a privilege,” New Jersey Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said on March 15, “The law worked as intended for these employees, who are receiving the back wages they rightfully earned, and for the contractor, who has been debarred.”
UniMak, in a statement provided by their attorney from Gibbons P.C, responded saying, “We certainly understand that mistakes were made, and have taken constructive steps to assure that this kind of thing can never happen again, including by assuring that any affected employees are fully reimbursed.”