Your job can be a chance to provide yourself and your family with stability and opportunity. However, if an employer misclassifies you as an independent contractor rather than an employee, you may not receive all the benefits you are due under the law. What should workers know about misclassification?
How common is misclassification?
Employee misclassification is more common than many may think. In the state of Wisconsin, there were more than 8,000 employees misclassified from 2013 to 2019 in the construction industry alone.
What impact can worker misclassification have?
Employers do not need to pay taxes on contractors’ payroll, follow minimum wage requirements for their pay, offer them overtime pay or provide them with breaks during the day. They also generally do not provide independent contractors with the insurance benefits or paid leave that they provide to full time employees. This can lead unscrupulous employers to misclassify a worker as an independent contractor to avoid providing them with the pay and protections granted to employees.
Not only do misclassified workers face increased taxes and insurance costs while not receiving the pay and breaks required by law, but they also face other challenges. Misclassification can cut them off from other benefits, including discrimination protections, union membership, disability coverage and unemployment if they lose their position.
What can misclassified workers do?
Thankfully, employees can take legal action against the employers that misclassify them. They may be eligible for compensation including unpaid overtime, lost wages and other penalties. These workers may want to discuss their concerns with an experienced attorney to determine the next steps they should take.