OSHA fines MA roofer $125K after company ignored fall hazard warnings

By Kim Slowey
August 12, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Massachusetts roofing company Roof King for three willful, one repeat and nine serious violations related to falls and other hazards and fined the company $124,960.
  • According to an agency press release, Roof King’s onsite supervisory personnel ignored an OSHA inspector’s instructions as to how fall hazards could be remedied, and a subsequent inspection revealed that the company continued to put its employees at risk.
  • OSHA said that among other violations, its inspector observed Roof King’s employees working without fall protection at heights of more than 45 feet off the ground, on a lower, sloped roof and on ladders that did not extend at least 3 feet above landings.

 

Dive Insight:

“Employees should never have to risk their lives for a paycheck,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties, in a press release. He said preventable falls make up approximately 40% of all construction industry deaths and that Roof King must take action to avoid serious employee injuries or death.

Businessman David Emami must pay workers more than $512K for ‘scheme’ to avoid paying overtime

U.S. Department of Labor       Date: February 2, 2015

Wage and Hour Division          Release Number: 15-13-SAN

 

PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal court has ordered local developer David Emami and three of his affiliated companies to pay 33 Portland-area employees $512,290 in unpaid wages and liquidated damages. The U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon agreed with a U.S. Department of Labor investigation that found that Emami and companies Oak Grove Cinemas Inc., Barrington Management LLC and Barrington Venture LLC willfully violated the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court also held that Emami violated the anti-retaliation protections of the FLSA by threatening employees who cooperated with the department’s investigation.

“Those who flagrantly disregard basic wage obligations and then try to cover up those actions should think twice before threatening workers when they simply exercise their right to be paid fairly, as the law requires,” said Janet Herold, the department’s regional solicitor in San Francisco. “This judgment makes clear that we will not allow employers to violate the law and then try to bully their way out of trouble.”

The department concluded that those Emami employed as general maintenance, landscaping and construction workers at commercial properties he owned or maintained had two time cards for most pay periods. On one time card, an employee recorded their morning start time and a midafternoon end time. The employees immediately clocked in on a second time card to record the remainder of a day’s work hours. The workers’ duties and rates of pay remained the same each day at each work location.

(Read More)

United States: Illinois Supreme Court Upholds One Of The Nation’s Strictest Worker Misclassification Laws; Employers May Face Millions Of Dollars In Penalties

Worker misclassification is now a bet-the-company issue.

On February 21, 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Illinois’s Employee Classification Act (the “ECA”), a law that defines most individuals who perform construction-related services as employees of the company who retains them, even if the relationship is set up as an independent contractor relationship.  Illinois’s ECA is one of the strictest worker misclassification statutes in the country.

Bartlow v. Costigan arose out of a preliminary finding that a small construction firm, Jack’s Roofing, had misclassified 10 workers as independent contractors instead of employees for periods ranging from 8 to 160 days in 2008.  The Illinois Department of Labor calculated a potential penalty for having misclassified these 10 workers as $1.6 Million.  Under the Illinois misclassification law, each day that each worker is misclassified is considered a separate violation, with fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense.  Willful violations result in triple damages.  Subsequent violations double the penalties again.

(Read More)

(Please note that the date of this court decision is actually February 21, 2014)