Stop-work orders are extremely serious legal devices issued by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. The State of Florida uses a stop-work order as a tool to halt business activities until an employer complies with workers’ compensation law and pays the necessary penalties. If a business owner isn’t proactive in lifting a stop-work order, they can experience excessive fines and even bankruptcy.
If your company has been issued a stop-work order, your first step should be to contact a stop-work order attorney in Florida. Alternatively, you can take precautions to be certain that your company is properly covered to avoid incurring a stop-work order.
Insurance and Proper Employee Reporting
To avoid a stop-work order in Florida, you must have workers’ compensation insurance. This goes beyond just making sure that your policy is paid for and has the correct limits – it also means that you must make sure that all employees are properly classified. In fact, Florida Statute 440.107 states:
A stop-work order issued because … the employer has materially understated or concealed payroll, materially misrepresented or concealed employee duties so as to avoid proper classification for premium calculations, or materially misrepresented or concealed information pertinent to the computation and application of an experience rating modification factor.
This means that your employees and independent contractors must be classified properly and that employees cannot be paid as independent contractors to avoid higher premiums. If you have the proper workers’ compensation coverage, and your employees are classified correctly, you still need to manage and store all company records related to your workforce’s payroll and employee records. A stop-work order attorney in Florida can ensure that all of your records are correct and up-to-date, thereby protecting your business from incurring any form of penalty, including a stop-work order.
How an Attorney Can Help Lift a Stop-Work Order
If you have been issued a stop-work order in Florida, it is crucial that you comply with the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation’s instructions and cease business operations. Continuing to conduct business will only result in more severe financial penalties. Additionally, conducting any business operations in violation of a stop-work order constitutes a felony of the third degree and a penalty of $1,000 per day for each day working in violation of the stop-work order.
An attorney will help you understand which business records must be provided to the department during an investigation. They will also guide you through the appeals or exemption process if necessary. Counsel can also assist in reducing fees by helping you submit the corrective paperwork in a timely manner – usually within 10 days. To help your construction company get back to work, the construction attorney will also discuss how to obtain an Agreed Order of Conditional Release.
Collectively, our attorneys have over 100 years of construction law experience. At Cotney Construction Law, we are passionate about the industry and will use our comprehensive knowledge of construction law to aggressively defend construction professionals.
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.