In 2014, The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Canton, Conn.-based Royal Construction for seven violations of workplace safety standards at a Farmington work site for a total of $20,240 in proposed fines.
Royal Construction contested the findings, claiming the workers at the job site were independent contractors who worked under their own supervision, supplied their own tools and made their own hours, and thus were not subject to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Administrative Law Judge Keith E. Bell disagreed, earlier this month ruling the workers were in fact employees. He cited the following findings by the US Department of Labor:
- Royal Construction had employees at the job site, and provided materials, tools, trailer and equipment needed for the project.
- Royal Construction owner Dzenutis had control over the workers and work site safety.
- Royal Construction determined when and for how long the individuals worked; the work was done as part of the regular business of Royal Construction.
- The company paid hourly wages to the individuals working at the site.
“Employers cannot evade their responsibility by claiming that workers on a job site are independent contractors when the facts show otherwise,” said Michael Felsen, the regional solicitor of labor for New England. “We will not hesitate to pursue appropriate legal action to ensure that workers are provided with the safeguards to which they are entitled.”
Bell also upheld the citations and proposed penalties.