JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida-based roofing contractor with a long history of exposing workers to the serious and potentially fatal risks related to falls faces possible incarceration for his failure to comply with court orders once again.
The recommendation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit continues the legal saga of Travis Slaughter — owner of Great White Construction Inc. and Florida Roofing Experts, both in Jacksonville — who has failed to pay $2,202,049 in penalties assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for more than 48 safety and health violations dating back nearly a decade at Florida worksites.
Since 2017, Slaughter’s companies have been the subject of 10 inspections, resulting in 21 willful, eight repeat, and one serious citations.
After Slaughter and his companies’ continued failure to abide by workplace safety laws and refusal to pay penalties, the department filed a petition for summary enforcement with the appeals court to enforce 12 final orders issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. On Oct. 2, 2017, and June 5, 2018, the court granted the department’s petition, enforcing the commission’s final orders.
On Aug. 28, 2019, based on Great White, Florida Roofing and Slaughter’s continued violations of OSHA standards and failure to pay penalties, the department filed a petition for civil contempt, citing the failure to comply with the 2017 and 2018 court orders.
On Jan. 3, 2020, the Court of Appeals held the companies and Slaughter in civil contempt and ordered the company 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 their violations. Slaughter continued to refuse to pay or fully disclose his financial condition as required by the court’s contempt order throughout 2020 and 2021. In fall 2021, the department asked the court to set aside as fraudulent Slaughter’s transfers of real property to family members, have him incarcerated for continued contempt, and order him to pay fees and costs.
“The U.S. Department of Labor’s enforcement action and the litigation that followed shows we will use every resource available to hold Travis Slaughter and his companies, Great White Construction Inc. and Florida Roofing Experts, accountable for continually putting workers at risk of serious injury or worse,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Tremelle Howard in Atlanta.
The court’s recommendation is the best remedy to address the companies’ longstanding refusal to protect workers and pay the associated penalties, and is the result of lengthy litigation by the department’s Office of the Solicitor before OSHRC and confirmation the employer continued violating OSHA’s safety requirements.