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State College-Based Construction Company Accused Of Stealing Millions In Wages

Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., a State College-based construction company, was accused Thursday of allegedly stealing more than $20 million in wages from its employees, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro said the charges come after a three-year investigation into Hawbaker’s business practices. In a statement, the attorney general claimed it’s the largest prevailing wage criminal case in state history.

Hawbaker was awarded $1.7 billion in government contracts from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation between 2003 and 2018. Shapiro alleged the company violated Pennsylvania’s Prevailing Wage Act, along with the federal Davis-Bacon Act, by fleecing its employees of owed money.

These two acts were enacted to ensure employees working on publicly funded projects are paid a fair, prevailing wage by all contractors. Shapiro alleged Hawbaker inflated health care benefit prices and stole from prevailing-wage workers’ 401ks to pay the pensions of other employees.

This allegedly allowed the company’s higher-ups to pay employees less than they were owed and pocket the difference.

“My focus now is on holding Hawbaker accountable for breaking the law, and getting these workers their money back,” Shapiro said Thursday. “Employers across this Commonwealth, you are on notice: if you steal from your employees, if you misclassify workers, if you violate our labor laws, we are going to find out, we are going to hold you accountable, and we will do all we can so Pennsylvania workers receive the wages and benefits owed to them under the law.”

On top of its current investigation, the company also settled in a separate federal discrimination lawsuit in 2018.

The investigations allegedly determined the malpractice has occurred for decades, but charges will be filed for only the last five years of criminal activity due to the statute of limitations.

The company provided the following statement Thursday afternoon regarding the state’s charges:

Glenn O. Hawbaker is a third-generation, family-owned company that has been in business for nearly 70 years. Upon learning of the Attorney General’s investigation in 2018, we have cooperated fully. While we believe that we have always acted in accordance with all state and federal laws, in an abundance of caution, the company immediately changed its prevailing wage practices. These changes remain in effect today as we continue to do what’s right for our employees, both past and present. Our company will continue to work constructively with the Attorney General’s office to reach a swift resolution. Since 1952, Glenn O. Hawbaker’s mission has been to build, serve and advance local communities, and that will never change. 

The Office of the Attorney General has set up a hotline at 814-746-3518 for workers affected by Hawbaker’s alleged actions. A formal arraignment is set for May 12.

The company was originally founded by Glenn O. Hawbaker and his wife, Thelma, in 1952. It was first an excavation business and contracted with developers in State College. Hawbaker currently operates 21 quarries and 7 asphalt production facilities in Pennsylvania and New York.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a senior business major from "Philadelphia" and is Onward State's social media manager. He writes about a lot of things. If you want to gain absolutely nothing, you can follow him on twitter @rjparsons9. Any "serious" inquiries can be sent to [email protected]m.

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