WARRINGTON, Pa. — A roofing contractor in Pennsylvania faces $179,000 in penalties, back wages and damages for violating child labor laws and failing to properly pay workers for overtime.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 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. Federal law prohibits roofing occupation for workers under the age of 18 due to the hazardous nature of the industry.
According to a release, the investigation found that Pro Com Roofing violated child labor laws by employing minors to work on a roof and assist and clean up after adult roofers. They also used small hand tools to remove and install roofing materials and used 15-foot ladders to mount the roofs. In one instance, the division observed a 17-year-old worker use a powered device — an impact or screw gun — to fasten boards to the roofs.
“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.
Investigators 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.
“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," said Cain.
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.
“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.