Construction firms across the nation need to be mindful of employment laws. In fact, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) is cracking down on construction companies that are violating these laws. Whether it’s an excessive fine, a stop-work order, or criminal charges, there can be dire consequences for willful infractions. Consult our Miami construction litigation attorneys to ensure DOL compliance.
In this four-part article, we are covering a variety of ways that construction firms can find themselves in trouble if they neglect to perform their due diligence related to labor laws. In the first part, we discussed a few ways that employers can violate wage and hour and overtime pay laws. In the second part, we discussed the importance of having a reliable recordkeeping system that properly classifies workers by their job status. In this section, we will shift our attention to important safety laws related to DOL investigations.
5. Workers Under 18 are Performing Hazardous Tasks
The harshest penalties handed out by the DOL are for deliberate infractions. If the infraction involves employing a minor that is placed in a dangerous situation, the employer will receive the strictest of penalties. The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) includes several laws related to occupations and tasks that children are prohibited from performing. For example, a 16-year-old worker cannot operate a vehicle or work on a roof. Similarly, minors 16 and under are required by law to work reduced hours. To learn more about child labor laws, speak to an experienced Miami construction litigation attorney.
6. You Failed to Provide Workers’ Compensation Coverage
If you own a construction business, you are aware that it’s never acceptable to have employees on the jobsite that are not covered by a workers’ compensation plan. If the DOL investigates your workplace and discovers uncovered workers, the jobsite will receive a stop-work order meaning the project will be shut down until this issue is corrected. Of course, along with having to pause everything on the jobsite, you will also have to pay significant fines for failing to provide coverage for your workforce. On top of this, you will still need to pay the expenses to have everyone covered in order to resume work.
7. Your Subcontractor is Uninsured
Construction firms require reliable subcontractors to step in and perform their specialized area of work on a project. Although a construction firm may want to assume that their subcontractor is responsible meaning they are licensed and all of their workers are covered by workers’ compensation, in many cases, they aren’t. If one of the subcontractor’s workers is injured, the general contractor will be in for a rude awakening as they will be considered liable and will need to cover this worker on their workers’ compensation plan.
For more information on common employment law pitfalls on the jobsite, please read part four.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.