States Clamping Down on Workers Mislabeled as Contractors

Construction worker in San Francisco.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Bloomberg – “When construction slowed during the recession, some companies hired workers and wrongly designated them as independent contractors to avoid paying insurance, taxes, fair wages and overtime.

Danny Odom, chief operating officer of Odom Construction Systems, Inc. in Knoxville, Tennessee, says he wouldn’t even though the decision put the company of about 225 employees at a disadvantage as the practice would shave about 30 percent off his labor costs. He testified in support of legislation that went into effect July 1 allowing the state to fine competitors who misclassify employees.

“It’s principle for us,” Odom said in an interview. “We weren’t willing to stick our heads in the sand. It’s exploiting those guys and we just don’t want to make money off of people that are being exploited.”

States from New York to California are taking steps to crack down on employers who improperly classify their workers or fail to declare their income. Thirty states have laws on worker misclassification, up from 23 in 2010, according to Construction Citizen, a website that says it seeks to advance social responsibility in the industry.”

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