The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRS) requires contractors and subcontractors performing work on federally funded or federally assisted construction projects to pay laborers and mechanics not less than the prevailing wages and fringe benefits for similar work performed in the area. DBRS applies to all federal government or District of Columbia contracts for construction, alteration, or repair of public buildings or public works in excess of $2,000.
Employees who believe that an employer has submitted inaccurate or false payroll records to the government on DBRS projects can file a qui tam whistleblower action under the federal False Claims Act and receive a significant portion of any money recovered through the lawsuit.
Prevailing Wage Provisions
Prevailing wages and benefits for construction projects subject to DBRA are determined by the Department of Labor. Typically, this is done through a survey of current or recent construction projects within a certain geographic area over a set time period. Wage determinations are published on the Wage Determinations On Line (WDOL) website and are to be incorporated into DBRA-covered contracts.
Law Authorizing Federal Construction Assistance
The Davis Bacon Act was passed during the Great Depression to prevent cheap outside labor from displacing local workers.
The Davis Bacon Act has been amended several times since its 1931 passage and today covers building construction, residential construction, heavy construction, and highway construction to which the United States is a party in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to the Davis Bacon Act itself, Congress has authorized prevailing wage provisions for roughly 60 statutes under which federal agencies provide financial assistance to construction projects. These “related Acts” involve construction in areas that include transportation, housing, air and water pollution, and health. Some specific “related Acts” are:
- Federal-Aid Highway Acts
- Housing and Community Development Act
- Federal Water Pollution Control Act
- Urban Growth and New Community Development Act
- National Health Planning and Resources Act
The entire text of the Davis-Bacon and Related Act law (which includes all acts subject to prevailing wage provisions) can be read here.
Davis Bacon Act Whistleblower Claims
The False Claims Act allows individuals with knowledge about wage and hour violations under the Davis Bacon Act (and related Acts) to file a whistleblower (qui tam) lawsuit on behalf of the government. If the lawsuit succeeds in recovering money for the violations, the whistleblower may be entitled to 15-30% of the amount recovered.
In one recent Davis Bacon Act whistleblower case (United States of America, ex rel. Brian Law v. Circle C Construction, LLC), an employee who blew the whistle on a subcontractor who submitted false payroll certificates for an Army construction project was awarded more than $500,000.
Have Information About a Davis Bacon Act Violation?
False Claims Act whistleblower cases are a complicated type of litigation with very specific rules and requirements. Working with an experienced whistleblower attorney increases the likelihood that the government will intervene in your case and that you’ll receive the maximum possible whistleblower award.
If you know of potential fraud against the government, talk confidentially with our lawyers and find out whether you have a case.