Volume 1 Number 24
June 14, 2004











TEXT-ONLY VERSION

 


TEMPORARY STAFFING COMPANY ORDERED TO STOP WORK

State investigators discover that business employed Russian college students without providing workers’ compensation

ST. AUGUSTINE-A local temporary staffing company which employed visiting Russian college students has been ordered to cease business operations after state investigators with the Department of Financial Services learned the company was operating without required workers’ compensation coverage.

“Employers who avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums contribute to the rise in workers’ compensation rates and gain an unfair advantage over competitors,” said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who oversees the Department of Financial Services.  “We will continue to aggressively investigate instances of fraud and abuse of the workers’ compensation system.” 

Investigators with the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Workers’ Compensation ordered Old City Service Corp., 411 Arricola Ave., to stop work and cease all business operations in Florida.  Under Florida law, non-construction employers with more than three employees must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

According to investigators, Old City, owned by Vera Chiarmonte, employed at least seven Russian students, utilizing exchange student visas.  Under a contract with a local hotel, the students would perform custodial tasks for the hotel, but would serve as employees of Old City. 

Old City faces additional fines based on the amount of time not in compliance with Florida law and based on the total number of employees retained by the company, equal to 1.5 times the amount of avoided workers’ compensation premium.

Any employer operating in violation of a stop work order faces a civil penalty of $1,000 per day of violation and may also face criminal charges.