Feds find Warrington roofers put minors in danger, failed to pay overtime
A Warrington contractor has been ordered to pay $179,000 in back wages, damages and fines for illegally employing minors and failing to pay overtime, the US Department of Labor said.
An investigation found that Pro Com Roofing & Construction Services Corp. employed five 15- to 17-year-olds to perform dangerous jobs in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and child labor laws, according to a department press release.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in the construction industry, the Ministry of Labor said. Roofers are at greater risk, which is why federal law prohibits roofing for workers under the age of 18.
Federal investigators found that Pro Com employed the minors to work on a roof, help and clean up after adult roofers; use small hand tools to remove and install roofing material; and use 15-foot ladders to access rooftops.
In addition, a 17-year-old worker used a screw gun to fasten planks to the roof.
The company also paid all employees on an hourly basis for all hours they worked, including those exceeding 40 hours in a workweek, a practice that led to overtime.
Researchers found two sets of business time records: one for weekday hours and a second for weekend hours. Workers were paid weekday hours with wage checks and weekend hours with separate, non-salary checks, the press release said.
The employer failed to combine the hours from the two books to determine when to pay overtime.
Last week, the Eastern Pennsylvania court ordered the company to pay $132,000 in back wages and damages for failing to pay the required overtime pay to 37 employees as part of a consensual judgment.
The warrant also upheld the Labor Department’s assessment of $47,901 in civil fines for 19 willful offenses, including knowingly employing five minors in hazardous occupations.
“This case highlights the dangers to workers and to employers who ignore federal laws designed to prevent injuries and tragedies among young workers,” said James Cain, district director of the payroll and hour division. “This case should also remind employers that the Pay and Hours Division will hold them accountable if they fail to pay their hard-earned wages.”