Stop Work Orders / Penalty Assessments in Orlando, FL
What Is a Stop Work Order?
A stop-work order is a legal notice requiring an employer to cease all business operations until the issue or issues outlined in the order are resolved. A stop-work order is a serious legal matter that should be handled by an experienced attorney to avoid serious consequences.
To enforce stop-work orders, the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation may conduct investigations, examine business records, or interview employees to determine if an employer is in violation of any state-mandated requirements.
What Happens When Employers Fail to Carry Workers' Comp Coverage?
Through the Department of Financial Services, Division of Workers' Compensation, the state of Florida works to ensure that employers comply with state law and carry workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees, if required to do so. The state uses investigators to conduct inspections and to determine if an employer lacks the required insurance coverage.
In Florida, if an investigator determines that a business does not have the required workers' compensation insurance coverage, the Division may issue a stop-work order which requires the business to cease all operations until it complies with the law and pays a penalty equal to 1.5 times that which the employer should have paid in premiums over the preceding 3 year period.
In addition, stop-work orders can be issued if your employer conceals or misstates payroll, misrepresents an employee's duties, or attempts to avoid paying workers' compensation premiums.
Any of these activities can also result in criminal charges or additional penalties.
What Happens if a Stop-Work Order is Violated?
Violating a stop-work order may result in a penalty of $1,000 per day for each day that work is performed in violation of the order. In situations where the duties of an employee are misrepresented or if they are falsely classified as an independent contractor, an additional penalty of $5,000 per employee may be assessed.
Since stop-work order violations can be very costly, it is important to contact an attorney to determine the most appropriate course of action and help mitigate any penalties that may be assessed.
How to Lift a Stop-Work Order
To get a stop-work order lifted, an employer is required to obtain the required workers' compensation coverage and provide proof (usually through a certificate of insurance) and to make arrangements for payment of the penalty. The Division is empowered to initiate lien proceedings or any other collections actions necessary to collect an unpaid penalty.
It's Illegal for an Employer to Engage in Any of the Following Activities:
- Continues business operations while a stop-work order is in effect
- Makes false statements for the purpose of obtaining workers' compensation coverage
- Makes false statements to reduce a workers' compensation premium
- Fails to report an injury to an insurance company if required to do so by law
- Discharges, or threatens to fire, an employee for reporting an injury or attempting to file
- Deducts workers' compensation premiums from an employee's pay
- Misclassifies employees as independent contractors
Don't Wait! Take Action Today with Our Orlando Law Firm's Help.
One of the most important things to remember with regards to a stop-work order or a penalty assessment is you have a very limited window to appeal or contest them. If you do not file an appeal and/or request for hearing within the time frames, you forfeit the right to ever contest them later and are stuck with whatever findings or determinations the state has made. This makes it crucial that you consult with an attorney quickly to get an evaluation of your rights and the possible steps that can be taken to lift the stop-work order and/or contest the assessment.
Need a stop-work order attorney in Florida? The Workers' Compensation Trial Group, P.A., is happy to provide you with a free consultation to discuss your situation and your options. Call (888) 897-2373 today!