Last September I invited Dan Reilly from the Teamsters to give a continuing legal education talk at the annual conference of the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group. Dan presented on the topic of employer fraud, and in particular on an increasingly common practice known as misclassification. The video above is just a short clip from an interview we did after his talk. I’ll continue to share more clips from our fascinating conversation on this blog from time to time.
These workers have no benefits, and none of the protections that they should legally have. They simply do not have a safety net.
The term misclassification sounds innocent enough, but in reality it is a growing practice of exploitation that is taking away the rights of working people all across the United States.
Companies like FedEx “misclassify” workers who do the same jobs that full-time employees do by calling them independent contractors. This practice saves companies significant amounts of employee-related costs such as health care, workers’ compensation, unemployment taxes and other benefits.
What misclassification means for these independent contractors is up to 25% less salary than Continue reading
Today’s post comes to us from my colleague Tom Domer of Wisconsin. This is isn’t the first post that has appeared on this blog on unethical and illegal employer practices. In the future, we will continue to cover issues like cost shifting and worker misclassification, which pose ever increasing problems for today’s workers.
Seasoned workers’ compensation practitioners know some employers and worker’s comp carriers consciously employ questionable tactics to limit their exposure. They mischaracterize high risk employee job titles as low risk to reduce premiums; they call long-term employees “Independent Contractors” to get them off worker’s compensation roles; they hire doctors to render boilerplate predictable opinions to deny claims; and they discourage genuine worker’s comp claims by telling employees to submit work-related medical bills to group insurers, Medicare or Medicaid.
They discourage genuine workers’ comp claims by telling employees to submit work-related medical bills to group insurers, Medicare or Medicaid.
This last piece of fraud is extremely nefarious, especially since medical costs now exceed indemnity payments in Wisconsin and most other states. The cost shifting means we all pay (as increased group health premiums and taxes) for medical expenses that should be paid by worker’s comp carriers. In states such as Wisconsin where work injury related treatment expenses are paid at doctors’ usual and customary rates, shifting the cost to a group carrier, Medicare or Medicaid saves worker’s comp carriers millions.
The cost shifting means we all pay (as increased group health premiums and taxes) for medical expenses that should be paid by workers’ comp carriers.
Denial of a claim by using “legitimate doubt” or purchasing the opinion of an adverse medical examiner results in medical treatment provided at reduced negotiated rates through non-workers’ comp coverage (Union health care, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.). Continue reading
Is your employer committing fraud?
All employees should be on the lookout for signs that their employer or potential employer is engaging in workers’ compensation fraud.
The list of signs below was inspired by this one from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
These signs may indicate that your employer is not paying workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If they aren’t, this could put you in a very difficult situation if you are ever injured on the job.
If any of these signs sound familiar, report the employer to the Fraud Investigations Department of the North Carolina Industrial Commission and, if at all possible, find another job.
Your employer may be engaged in workers’ compensation fraud if:
- They pay you in cash and don’t give you any kind of payroll stub.
- They give you a 1099 form instead of the standard W-2.
- They pay you other than in cash or check, by such things as free rent, reimbursement of expenses, barter, etc.
- They pay you on a piecework basis and do not record hours.
- They require you to work long hours but turn in fewer hours than you actually worked.
- You or somebody you know is injured on the job, and the employer promises to pay the medical bills rather than reporting the accident to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
- The reported hours on an injured worker’s accident report do not match the hours the employer reported to the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Continue reading