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Pulte Homes Under U.S. Labor Dept. Investigation

BLOOMFIELD HILLS (WWJ) - A metro Detroit homebuilder is one of several companies being investigated by the U.S. Labor Department.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Bloomfield Hills-based PulteGroup is one of several top companies being investigated by the federal government.

The Journal's Tom Ortuso said several homebuilders nationwide are included in the probe, which centers on pay practices, including PulteGroup, Lennar Corp., D.R. Horton Inc. and KB Home.

The firm's were sent letters instructing them to turn over names, addresses, social security numbers, pay rates and hours worked for all employees over the past two years. Unions have complained in the past about pay and working conditions in the industry.

The Journal's Melanie Trottman said the home builders feel the focus of the probe isn't clear.

"They consider the request to be over broad. They feel the demands could require thousands of hours of work and significant resources and the inquiry is troubling because there's no indication of a reason for it," Trottman said.

Many home builders entrust much of the construction to workers employed by contractors. The contractors rarely are unionized.

For years, unions have complained about pay and working conditions in the industry, alleging pay scales below minimum wage and failure to pay overtime. The unions argue that larger home builders have an obligation to make sure their contractors are following labor laws.

A spokesman for Pulte told the Journal they are working to better understand the government's request.

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