How Some Employers Get Around Paying Memphis Workers’ Comp
Shelby County recently announced a task force to combat worker exploitation. This includes loopholes that keep down Memphis workers’ comp claims.
According to the local government and watch groups, some employers continually misclassify their workers in order to prevent them from filing valid workers’ comp claims. Their shady methods cheat employees, taxpayers, and the economy at large.
The Problem With Job Misclassification
When an employer classifies their employees as contractors, it means they can avoid workers’ comp coverage for that worker.
Sometimes, this benefits the worker. Many freelancers want control over their hours and taxes, and they agree to fund their own benefits. They may technically qualify as an employee but prefer to be considered a contractor.
That agreement is technically illegal, but some agreements go further and actively harm the workers.
Most employees don’t prefer to be contractors, because along with health insurance and other benefits, they want coverage if their job injures them. And in general, employers will misclassify them the most in situations where employees are most likely to get injured, including:
- construction work
- handyman services and home maintenance
- restaurants and hospitality
- and more
In these positions, workers often work set hours, do a specific job under close supervision, and receive a regular payment for their services. In other words, they are an employee.
When a company classifies them instead as a contractor, it denies that person the benefit of workers’ comp. Not only does that break the law—it hurts everyone in the community.
The Memphis Workers’ Comp Loophole: How It Impacts Employees
First, these loopholes hurt employees. Imagine you sustain a serious injury on a construction site. You require surgery and will miss two months of work.
With workers’ comp, you simply make a claim, get the medical support you need, and take the time to heal. When the system works properly, it prevents lawsuits, complicated insurance claims, and wrongful termination.
Without workers’ comp, you will have to pay for that surgery yourself. Your family might lose months of income. And after all that, you could even lose your job. The Shelby County task force calls this practice “exploitation” for a reason.
The Economic Impacts on Everyone Else
These loopholes hurt employees worst of all, but they impact everyone in the community.
First, without workers’ comp coverage, injured employees will likely depend more on government assistance. They may need unemployment, medical care subsidies, food assistance, and other programs to get by.
That amounts to government fraud and costs taxpayers untold dollars, which explains in part why the county wants to investigate these abuses.
It also hurts all the great employers out there trying to run their companies ethically. How can they compete against companies that don’t carry insurance for their employees? As a result, the best companies with the highest standards won’t be able to raise wages or stay afloat.
That hurts every single worker and the consumers. And it puts pressure on struggling companies to break the law themselves and use the same loopholes as their competitors.
So in other words, the only people who benefit from these shady Memphis workers’ comp schemes are the employers who break the law. It’s no wonder authorities want to put a stop to these practices.
Get Help With Memphis Workers’ Comp
This worker exploitation is illegal for a reason.
If you’ve been injured on the job and your employer has denied you workers’ comp, it might be against the law. Employers are required by law to carry insurance for exactly this purpose: to cover you and your family when the worst happens.
It doesn’t matter who was at fault in the accident or how it happened—if you were injured at work or in the process of doing your job, you may be entitled to compensation.
Our attorneys can help.
For decades, we’ve worked with Memphians who need workers’ comp and whose companies deny their claims. We help you build the strongest case possible to get the benefits you need and deserve, and we don’t win a penny unless you do.
It all starts with a totally free consultation to let you know your options. To schedule this meeting, just fill out the form on this page or give us a call at 901-327-2100.