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Penalties apply for not having workers' compensation coverage

Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in Colorado and every other state. There are penalties in each state for failing to provide that coverage. In a recent case in another state, a restaurant owner was arrested on felony charges for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The case represents an example of an employer’s flagrant failure to comply with prior warnings and violations issued by the state authorities.

It appears that the authorities are alleging that the owner ignored several attempts to get her to comply with the law prior to her arrest. It also appears that the owner was ultimately arrested after ignoring a state stop-work order for failing to carry insurance. She now faces two felony charges for alleged workers’ compensation fraud.

The first is for not carrying insurance and the second is for failing to comply with the stop-work order. In Florida, such violations are criminal offenses classified as third-degree felonies. Penalties include a prison sentence of up to 10 years. When an investigator stopped at the restaurant because it was still open despite the cease-work order, he asserts that the employees were not even aware that there was a problem.

In Colorado, there are severe daily fines for each day that an employer remains operating without required workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The fines for violations are graduated and get more serious as the violation of law continues. Colorado also has a law that authorizes the Director of the Division of Workers’ Compensation of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to issue a cease and desist order keeping the business closed until proper coverage is obtained. If an irregularity in coverage is suspected by an employee, the violation should be reported to the appropriate state office.

Source: wftv.com, "Dr. Phillips' area restaurant owner charged in workers' comp case", , Aug. 11, 2014

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