Contract to Cheat: Raleigh contractor left dozens of workers unpaid

Air Conditioning Repairman 4From the CharlotteObserver.com — Unscrupulous employers make it hard for legitimate companies and independent contractors to operate.  In this case, the employer “recruited workers by placing advertisements on Hispanic radio stations or on Craigslist. Sometimes, he posted fliers at Hispanic grocers. The workers who answered the ads were assigned to a crew run by a foreman he hired.

But at every level, Miller considered the workers to be independent contractors, not employees under his control. His decision not to have employees was a business strategy.

“It would complicate things, and it would drive my prices up,” Miller said in an interview. “I don’t hire individuals as (employees).”

Because he treated employees as independent contractors, Miller may have saved 20 percent or more in labor costs by failing to provide workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance, and by failing to pay the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.

He also broke the law, according to records provided by the federal Department of Labor. At least twice, federal labor investigators found Miller had skirted federal labor law and IRS codes that dictate who must be classified as an employee.

Though Miller’s company had been on the radar of state labor officials through the 2000s, his practices first came across the desk of federal labor investigators in 2011, when his company stopped paying workers on a stimulus-funded housing project in Wilmington.

After two weeks of not being paid, more than a dozen workers complained to federal labor officials….”

Read the full story at Contract to Cheat: Raleigh contractor left dozens of workers unpaid

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