Felony charges, accusations of insurance fraud, project delays, and thousands of dollars in fines; these are just a few issues your business may face after your jobsite receives a stop-work order in Florida. If you have been issued a stop-work order, it’s critical that you act quickly and contact a stop work-order attorney in Florida. In this brief article, the construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law will discuss several reasons why a jobsite can receive a stop-work order and how a construction attorney can help.
How Your Construction Business Can Receive a Stop-Work Order
There are many reasons why a construction business can receive a stop-work order including:
- Lack of Coverage: If there is no workers’ compensation coverage in place or your insurance policy fails to provide the required level of coverage, your business operations will come to a screeching halt and you will need the services of a workers’ compensation defense attorney in Florida.
- Out-of-State: When an out-of-state employer neglects to obtain proper coverage in Florida, the state they are working in, this is also a violation of state law and will result in a stop-work order. Contractors need to always ensure their subcontractors and out-of-state employees have proper coverage for their workers.
- Workplace Hazards: When hazardous substances are discovered on a jobsite or there are other unsafe work conditions that threaten workers or bystanders, a stop-work order may be issued for the entire jobsite or a specific section.
- Failure to Comply: If an employer ignores a document request from a government agency or fails to produce the required documents, this can lead to a stop-work order. Construction firms should consult a construction law firm on document retention services and what documents need to be produced during an investigation.
If your business has received a stop-work order for any of the above reasons, you cannot legally continue your operations until the issue is resolved. As fines will continue and production will stall, consult a construction attorney immediately after receiving a stop-work order.
On top of being issued a stop-work order, a construction company can create even more problems for themselves if they attempt to mislead a government agency during an investigation. For example, during the penalty assessment phase, if your business conceals any form of payroll (i.e. wages, cash payments, bonuses, account records, profit sharing, and incentive plans) this can impact not only the jobsite being investigated, but all of your other active projects as well. To ensure compliance and avoid additional problems, it’s critical to speak to a lawyer before you are investigated by a government agency and a stop-work order is issued.
Never ignore a stop-work order or any requests for documentation. If you do ignore these requests from a government agency, you are only digging yourself into a deeper hole with larger fines and potential criminal charges. The deadlines for complying with the requests of a stop-work order are extremely short, so you need to be proactive and speak with an attorney.
Consult an Attorney for Stop-Work Orders
If you have had success running your business, chances are that you know how to employ intelligent people that can excel in areas you cannot and help grow your business. When dealing with a stop-work order in Florida, the same rules apply to protect your business. You should never take on this task on your own.
Here are a few of the benefits of consulting a stop work-order attorney in Florida:
- Immediate Action: The main objective when receiving a stop-work order is to get the order lifted as soon as possible, so you can resume work on your project. An attorney understands this process and can achieve successful results quickly.
- Document Preparation: During either a document request investigation or the penalty assessment phase of a stop-work order, an attorney can assist employers with determining what documents need to be provided to government officials.
- Save Money: The assessment phase often results in punitive damages to businesses that receive a stop-work order. With a lawyer assessing the penalties you are issued, they can determine if the amount is fair or not. Our law firm has successfully reduced the penalty amount for stop-work orders for many contractors in Florida.
Remember, there are serious repercussions for employers that willfully violate laws related to a stop-work order investigation. If you falsify payroll records, knowingly make misleading or fraudulent remarks to a government official, or resume work without having the stop-work order lifted, any of these violations can result in felony criminal charges and excessive fines. If you are dealing with a stop-work order or a government investigation of your construction site, take action today and consult an experienced attorney.
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.