NEW CASTLE, PA – A federal investigation into why a 17-year-old worker — who fell 24 feet from the roof of a New Castle, Pennsylvania, hardware store in October 2022 — did work that violated child labor laws led to a broader investigation into how the one works Roofing company failed to pay 30 employees full wages and exposed other workers to dangerous fall hazards.
The U.S. Department of Labor found that JVS Roofing of Jonesboro, Georgia, hired the teenager to do roofing work, a job considered dangerous for young workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The young worker suffered minor injuries after the fall.
Further investigation by the Department's Wage and Hour Division into the employer's wage practices revealed that JVS misclassified 30 workers as independent contractors. As a result, the employer unlawfully exempted her from overtime pay for more than 40 hours in a workweek. The department also learned that JVS had failed to maintain complete and accurate payroll records.
The department has recovered $92,640 in back wages for the affected workers, and the department has received payment from the employer of a $6,399 civil penalty imposed for the child labor violation.
“JVS Roofing violated federal child labor laws and hired an underage employee to perform prohibited roofing work,” said John DuMont, district manager of the Wage and Hour Division in Pittsburgh. “In investigating this incident, our investigators then concluded that the employer deprived workers of an average of $3,000 per employee in earned overtime by misclassifying them as independent contractors.”
A subsequent investigation by the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found JVS Roofing Failed to provide employees with required fall protection, failed to provide appropriate training, and allowed employees to work without a fall protection system in place.
OSHA issued the company a citation for four serious safety violations and proposed a $16,500 fine, which the company paid.
“Allowing a child to work on a roof is irresponsible and a violation of federal safety laws,” said Brendan Claybaugh, OSHA area manager in Erie, Pennsylvania. “Fall hazards are well known to employers and remain a leading cause of serious injury and death in the construction industry. There is simply no place for such reckless behavior.”
Mid-South Contractors – doing business as Mid-South Roof Systems in Forest Park, Georgia – hired JVS Roofing to perform roofing work on the Lowe's store in New Castle at the time of the teen's injuries.
The injured teenage worker is one of 688 minors the department employed in hazardous jobs during investigations in fiscal year 2022the highest annual number since fiscal year 2011.
Learn more about the Wage and Hour Departmentincluding about the protection of young workers in the department's youth rules! website. The department also maintains a Search tool to determine whether you are owed wages collected by the department. Ensure hours worked and pay are accurate Download the Department's Timesheet app for Android and iOS for freeavailable in English and Spanish.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this was the case 123 deaths in the roofing industry in 202199 of these were due to falls, slips or trips. OSHA's Stop Falls website provides safety information and Video presentations in English and Spanish to teach the workers Fall hazards and appropriate safety measures.
Learn more about OSHA.