WARRINGTON, PA – In the construction industry, falls are among the leading causes of injuries and fatalities. The risks faced by roofing workers are even greater given how they spend much of their workdays, and why federal law prohibits roofing as a hazardous occupation for workers under the age of 18.
A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation revealed Pro Com Roofing & Construction Services Corp. of Warrington employed five minors – between ages 15 and 17 – to perform hazardous duties in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The investigation found the employer violated child labor laws when it employed:
Five minors to work on a roof, and assist and clean up after adult roofers; use small hand tools to remove and install roofing materials; and use 15-foot ladders to mount the roofs.
A 17-year-old worker to use a powered device, in this case an impact or screw gun, to fasten boards to the roofs.
The division also determined the employer paid all hourly employees straight time for all the hours that they worked, including those beyond 40 in a workweek, a practice that led to overtime violations. Investigators found Pro Com kept two sets of time records: one for weekday hours and a second for weekend hours. The employer paid weekday hours with payroll checks and weekend hours with separate, non-payroll checks. The employer failed to combine hours from the two sets of books to determine when overtime was due.
On July 14, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia ordered Pro Com Roofing Corp. to pay $132,000 in back wages and damages for failing to pay required overtime wages to 37 workers. The consent judgement also affirmed the division’s assessment of $47,901 in civil penalties for 19 willful violations, including knowingly employing five minors in hazardous occupations.
“This case highlights the dangers for workers and for employers who ignore federal laws designed to prevent injuries and tragedies among young workers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director James Cain in Philadelphia. “This case should also remind employers that the Wage and Hour Division will hold them accountable when they fail to pay workers all of their hard-earned wages.”
“The U.S. Department of Labor will take appropriate steps to legally enforce compliance with laws that protect young workers and ensure all workers are paid fairly,” said Philadelphia Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.