Date: January 6, 2011
Source: Mountain News
Original Publication Date: Oct 21, 2010
Roofing contractors who try to undercut their competitors by ignoring their legal duty to carry workers' compensation insurance are coming into the crosshairs of the California State License Board (CSLB).
"A recently issued CSLB bulletin says the board is stepping up its enforcement activities to make sure roofers comply with state law, promising crackdowns including sting operations in the coming months."
A recently issued CSLB bulletin says the board is stepping up its enforcement activities to make sure roofers comply with state law, promising crackdowns including sting operations in the coming months.
"We understand why businesses try to cut expenses, but cheating on workers' compensation insurance is illegal," CSLB Registrar Steve Sands said in a bulletin released Oct. 8.
"Employees are left unprotected if they get hurt, and contractors who break the law have an unfair business advantage over those who follow the rules. Fraud also drives up the price of insurance for all of us," Sands said.
The warning is especially timely for mountain homeowners who need to replace the wood shake or shingle roofs on their homes by the July 1, 2014, deadline outlined in a county ordinance.
Some mountain-based roofing contractors have said they believe many homeowners will wait until the last moment to get their roofs changed, leaving themselves at the mercy of roofers who may not only charge higher prices but take shortcuts that could include not having required insurance coverage for their workers.
In the coming months, CSLB and other state government agencies will use sting and sweep operations aimed at companies that either don't carry workers' compensation insurance or misrepresent the number of employees they have so they can get lower insurance rates, the agency has announced.
According to the CSLB bulletin, not carrying workers' compensation coverage can bring a hefty punishment. The penalty for a first offense of the applicable law, Labor Code Section 3700.5, is up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. In addition, a stop order may be issued for jobs in progress and fines of $1,000 per worker on the payroll, up to $100,000, can be levied.
Penalties for workers' compensation premium fraud are even steeper, the bulletin says. They include felony charges and suspension of a company's CSLB license.
CSLB officials advise all licensed roofing contractors to be prepared to show their customers proof of a valid workers' compensation insurance policy or a certificate of self-insurance, as well as verifying they have taken out the appropriate project permits.
Anyone suspecting a roofing contractor is not in compliance with these laws may submit a CSLB complaint form or contact Alan Dal Porto in CSLB's enforcement division, (909) 255-4001.