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Public v. Private Job Wages — Can the Wages Differ?

Question:  Can my employer force me to work on a private job for a lower wage while I am employed on a public works project at the prevailing wage? Answer: No. This is a common way contractors and subcontractors intentionally violate prevailing wage laws. Even if you’re not a union member, you are protected by Illinois and U.S. labor laws. The prevailing wage is based on the type of work you perform, and it’s important it is classified correctly by your employer. If you feel you were paid unfairly, you can file a claim with the Illinois Department of Labor. You cannot be punished by your employer for filing a claim.     For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to   Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit