Employee misclassification is not a small issue in the United States generally, and in Pennsylvania in particular. In fact, at least one state lawmaker feels the issue is serious enough to warrant a new law tackling the issue. Although the state has already passed a law punishing employers for misclassifying workers, but Senator Mike Stack has pointed out that state regulators, for whatever reason, are not diligently enforcing penalties.
To remedy the situation, Stack has proposed a bill which would encourage district attorneys in prosecuting cases by reimbursing them for the cost of their investigations. It isn’t clear how much interest there is from district attorneys in pursuing such cases, but it would at least open up another potential avenue for targeting employers who act illegally.
Employee misclassification is not always done intentionally. In some cases, employers simply make a mistake in paperwork and it isn’t caught until the worker has been missing out on employee treatment for some time. In some cases, though, misclassification is intentional in order to avoid the additional costs associated with employees, such as workers’ compensation. When this happens, it is important for the worker to take steps to recoup what they lost and to hold their employer accountable.
Employers sometimes engage in other tactics to avoid having a worker file a workers’ compensation claim. This can include offers for settling the case some other way, workplace bullying, or retaliatory demotion or firing. Workers subjected to such treatment can benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney.
Source: WESA, “Legislation Would Go After Employers Who Misclassify Workers to Avoid Benefits,” Kevin Gavin, September 21, 2014.