Business

Janitorial firm fined for wage gaffe

An East Boston janitorial company has been ordered by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to pay more than $750,000 for unlawfully deducting wages from workers’ paychecks at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority facilities in Boston.

Between March 2012 and September 2013, Star Service Corp., a subcontractor of janitorial provider ABM, took more than $959,000 out of 160 workers’ checks for health, pension, and welfare fund benefits but never contributed to the funds, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Under state law, cleaning and maintenance workers at buildings owned or rented by the Commonwealth can receive wages that include pension and health fund deductions, but if no payments are made to those funds, the money must go to the worker.

“Workers are entitled to all of the wages that they earn under the law,” Coakley said in a statement. “These violations not only undercut workers, but also competitive businesses that play by the rules.”

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ABM, of New York, has terminated Star Service’s contract and agreed to pay $300,000 to the workers and the pension fund. Star Service must pay more than $660,000 to the workers and roughly $100,000 more in penalties.

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In a statement, ABM said, “We cannot speak to Star’s actions, but we can say that we terminated the relationship with them after learning of the situation and we are pleased to have worked with the attorney general’s office toward resolving this issue, using funds withheld from Star pursuant to our agreement.”

Star Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

Katie Johnston

Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.