Federal Court Orders Sanctions, Appoints Special Master in Contempt Ruling Against Contractors, Owner for Not Complying With Safety Standards
Atlanta, GA (WorkersCompensation.com) - On June 5, 2020, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered coercive sanctions against the owner of two Jacksonville, Florida-based contractors after finding them in contempt of court for failing to pay $2,202,049 in penalties assessed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety and health violations at Florida worksites.
On Jan. 3, 2020, the appeals court held Great White Construction Inc., Florida Roofing Experts, and their owner Travis Slaughter in civil contempt and ordered the residential and commercial roofing companies to pay the outstanding penalties of $2,202,049 plus interest and fees. The court also required the companies and Slaughter to certify that they had corrected the violations.
Previously, the Department of Labor filed a petition for summary enforcement against the companies and Slaughter, pursuant to Section 11(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce 12 final orders of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Those orders arose from 25 OSHA inspections at worksites in Florida that disclosed multiple willful and repeat violations of fall protection and other safety and health standards. On Oct. 2, 2017, and June 5, 2018, the court granted the petitions, enforcing the commission's final orders.
On Aug. 28, 2019, the Department filed a civil contempt petition against Great White, Florida Roofing and Slaughter, alleging that the companies failed to comply with the court's October 2017 and June 2018 orders, based on the companies' continued OSHA violations and failure to pay assessed penalties. In granting the Department's petition, the court appointed a special master to enforce its Jan. 3, 2020, sanction order and ensure Great White, Florida Roofing, and the owner pay the $2,202,049 in penalties owed, plus interest and fees. The court warned Slaughter that failure to comply could result in his incarceration.
“This enforcement action demonstrates that OSHA will use every resource available to ensure that standards are followed and that companies like Great White and Florida Roofing Experts are held accountable when they ignore multiple court orders, do not correct cited violations, and fail to pay penalties,” said OSHA's Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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