Check out the News and Observer’s extensively documented series, Contract to Cheat, on the obstacles faced by workers who are misclassified, and how they are being failed by the government agencies that are supposed to protect them. The Justice Center released a report on wage theft, which includes misclassification, in 2013.
State leaders are, at last, vowing to do more. They had an opportunity to do so in 2011 and 2013, with legislation introduced by Rep. Rick Glazier to increase penalties for employers and inform workers of their legal rights. Rep. Larry Hall also introduced a bill in 2013 that would have created a fund to help workers whose employers fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance as required.
There is a whole host of things the General Assembly and state agencies could do that would go a long way toward fixing this problem, including:
- Increase penalties for employers who misclassify their employees
- Provide workers with information at the time of hire about how they are being classified, what that means, and their right to be correctly classified
- Workers should be presumed to be employees. If a worker is to be treated as an independent contractor, the company who hires that worker should have to prove that the classification is correct.
- The NC Department of Labor should go after employers who misclassify and should be allowed to issue stop work orders against those who don’t carry workers’ compensation coverage
- North Carolina should have a fund to help workers whose employers fail to carry required workers’ compensation coverage
- The Division of Employment Services, Department of Revenue, Industrial Commission, and Department of Labor should systematically share information about employers who misclassify workers.
For more information about the legal rights of misclassified workers, look at the Justice Center’s fact sheet.