Independent Contractor Misclassification for Employees
Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys understand that employers use several tactics to escape paying workers’ comp benefits. A popular one is misclassifying employees as independent contractors. These employers understand that employment status determines workers’ compensation eligibility. So, once they tag employees as independent contractors, they avoid paying them benefits.
Unfortunately, many Charlotte workers are unaware of this scheme. Furthermore, they don’t even know whether they qualify as employees or independent contractors. That’s why it’s always best to hire an excellent Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney. A skilled attorney will also help you get comp benefits irrespective of your employer’s tags.
Who Is an Independent Contractor?
Independent contractors are generally workers who provide goods and services based on agreement. Usually, the employer doesn’t control how they do their work. In addition, the business owner has fewer control and supervision roles over the independent contractor. Independent contractors are also often used for short-term jobs.
So, the business arrangement terminates after the job. Unfortunately, employers hire independent contractors and still treat them like full-time employees. The employer still goes ahead to deny them workers’ compensation when they suffer workplace injuries.
Other Features of Independent Contractors
If you’re working as an independent contractor, then it’ll be best to judge your work with the following features:
- How integral your services are to the employer’s business
- The permanency of the relationship
- Whether you use your tools and equipment
- The nature and degree of the employer’s control over your activities
- The employer’s profit and loss status potential based on your work
- The level of skill and experience you need for the job
The higher these indices are, the higher the chances that you’re an employee and not an independent contractor.
Why Do Employers Misclassify Employees as Independent Contractors?
Employment misclassification is rife because of its attendant benefits. An employer can escape some legal responsibilities by working with independent contractors. For example, contractors ordinarily aren’t covered by workers’ comp. In addition, they’re ineligible for some other forms of employee benefits. The employer can also save taxes by classifying employees as independent contractors.
Can I Still Receive Workers’ Compensation if My Employer Misclassifies Me as an Independent Contractor?
Yes, you’re still eligible for workers’ comp if you were falsely classified as an independent contractor. This is because the court or North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) will determine whether or not you’re an independent contractor. Now, suppose the Commission says you’re an employee. Then, it’ll order your employer to pay your benefits.
The North Carolina Employee Fair Classification Act
North Carolina has enacted a law to protect its workers from fraudulent misclassification. It’s the Employee Fair Classification Act. This law mandates employers to classify their workers properly. In addition, they’re to render accounts of their compliance with this obligation. Notably, the Act establishes the Employee Classification Section under the NCIC.
Employee misclassification is defined under the Act as escaping tax liabilities by misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The Act further requires the Section to post a publicly available notice on the definition of employee misclassification. Therefore, it employs mass education to fight the scourge of employee misclassification.
Reporting Employment Misclassification Under the Employee Fair Compensation Act
The Employee Classification Section is another means of recourse against unscrupulous employers. So, suppose you suspect that your employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor. Then, you can file a claim with the Section. The Section investigates the claim of misclassification and gives a decision.
Furthermore, you can send this report via email, fax, or call. When you do, you’ll have to provide details of your employer and the misclassification. These would include the following:
- Name and address of the employer
- Nature of your work and activities
- Your relationship with the business (this is crucial because different people can report misclassification)
- Details of the employer-employee relationship
- Any documentation supporting the claims of misclassification
- Number of workers performing similar activities
- Any agencies to which you have reported the misclassification to
Notably, all investigations are conducted on a case-by-case basis.
Let the Best Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help You!
Have you sustained a work injury or an occupational disease? If so, then you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Is your employer refusing to pay your comp benefits because you’re an independent contractor? Well, you don’t have to worry because you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation.
First, however, you’ll need the best Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys. At Waple & Houk, PLLC, our lawyers have experience dealing with unscrupulous employers. As a result, we can proceed against your employer and get you the compensation you deserve if you hire us. So, call us today for a FREE consultation.