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Alleged worker misclassification leads to criminal charges

Published on Jan 20, 2021 at 5:25 pm in workers' compensation.

Workers’ compensation applies to every employee—but not independent contractors. Those working in gig economies and blue-collar industries often fall into the independent category. As such, they do not qualify for benefits if they sustain an injury on the job.

This was one of the big details in California’s Prop 22 regarding Uber and Lyft drivers. Now, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, a Pennsylvania Attorney General has his sights on worker misclassification locally.

Protecting workers rights

According to a 2018 report from the Office of the City Controller, the construction industry includes 15% to 25% of the number of undocumented or misclassified workers. This failure to correctly classify workers puts the liability on the worker. Employers that misclassify may avoid legal rights for employees like minimum wage and workers’ compensation.

A Delaware County District Attorney alleged that a construction company misclassified its workers during a county project. The initiative hopes to set a precedent for holding employers accountable for their treatment of workers.

The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act focuses on the construction industry. The District Attorney spoke of the need for a state law that allows pursuing app-based companies for the same mistreatment. A bill to do so fell through in 2019.

Securing workers’ compensation

Employees injured on work sites or while on shift may look forward to helpful compensation. But this story shines a light on how employers may or may not allegedly cut corners in order to save them money or avoid liability.

Pennsylvania law works to protect the rights of any and all eligible workers. Workers acting independent contractors may want to double-check that their employer is classifying their work correctly.

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