Employee Classification in Workers' Comp

Some companies tend to find ways to avoid paying for worker’s compensation insurance by hiring employees and classifying them as independent contractors. As such, these employees have no protections. If they are injured on the job, they are unable to file for workers’ compensation. They also lose out any potential earnings, as they are too hurt to work. The main issue is that many of these companies do this to avoid paying these – and other benefits – leaving the employees vulnerable, despite the fact the practice is illegal.

The Real Definition of an Independent Contractor

According to the law, an independent contractor is a worker who can come and go as they please. They have no set hours and do not have to wear a company uniform. They don’t receive benefits from the company, but they have more freedom. In order to get paid, they must submit an invoice to the company. However, in many cases, employers simply call their workers independent contractors but treat them as if they are full employees. If you are, by classification, an independent contractor, yet have to work set hours, wear a uniform, and receive a standard paycheck, then you are technically an employee and should be treated as such.

Why Employers Prefer Independent Contractors

Employers classify employees as independent contractors because it’s easier for them. They don’t have to provide benefits to the employee, such as health insurance, a 401K, and even workers’ compensation insurance. They also don’t have to take taxes out of the worker’s paycheck. Instead, they receive a 1099 and have to pay their own taxes at the end of the year. There’s much less paperwork. On top of this, companies don’t need to provide a safe working environment for their “independent contractors.”

Workers’ Compensation Should Apply to All Employees

When an independent contractor is hurt on the job, they believe that they have little recourse. They lose potential wages and end up with hefty medical bills. Since many of these independent contractors are actually proper employees, they should be covered under the company’s workers’ compensation insurance. If they can prove that they were indeed treated as an employee while being called an independent contractor, they may have legal options and should contact an attorney immediately.

If you are struggling due to a work-related injury and want to file a workers’ compensation claim, please call our experienced team of Workers’ Compensation attorneys today!