According to 440.107 F.S., there are certain enforcement provisions that an employer must comply with when he or she is required to maintain Workers’ Compensation coverage for employees.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation enforces employer compliance with the enforcement provisions they mandate. To make sure that employers are complying with these regulations, investigators are sent to conduct inspections at the place of employment.
If an investigator reports that the employer lacks the required Florida workers’ compensation coverage, he or she may issue a Stop-Work Order, which will cease all business operations from that point on. The Division will also assess a penalty equal to 1.5 times the amount the employer would have paid in premium within the preceding three-year period.
A Stop-Work Order may also be issued if an employer understates or conceals payroll, misrepresents or conceals employee duties or otherwise attempts to avoid paying Workers’ Compensation premiums. Such actions could also result in criminal charges and penalties.
In order for the Workers’ Compensation Division to release a Stop-work order, an employer will be required to provide evidence of compliance and pay the assessed penalties. Pursuant to section 440.107(11), F.S., the Division may initiate lien proceedings to collect any penalty due that has not been paid. In addition, the Department may refer any unpaid penalty that is due to a collection agency for the initiation of proceedings to collect the unpaid penalty.
An employer is under strict scrutiny to comply with specific regulations mandated by the Workers’ Compensation for his or her state regarding benefits for injured workers. Upon investigation, and employer can be penalized for non-compliance with these regulations, or for fabricating any information provided to the Division.
For example, it is against the law for an employer to:
Work in violation of a Stop-Work Order.
Make a false statement for the purpose of obtaining coverage or to reduce workers’ compensation premiums.
Fail to report a qualifying injury to his or her insurance carrier.
Discharge or threaten to discharge an employee for filing or attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Deduct workers’ compensation premiums from employees’ pay.
Miss-classify an employee as an independent contractor.
If an employer is caught performing any of these actions, he or she will be punishable by law and may even be subject to criminal sanctions.