When the economic downturn came, some businesses closed while others made big changes in order to stay open. The job losses flooded the market with the unemployed and underemployed, some of whom began picking up work as independent contractors. In the trucking industry, for example, some truckers left behind working as employees in order to become independent owner/operators.
However, another alleged trucking-related trend involving independent contractors which touches on workers' compensation now has Teamsters up in arms. Some trucking companies saw a burgeoning trend of owner/operators and began “misclassifying” truck driving employees as independent contractors. Doing this meant that these companies no longer had to pay for benefits or workers' compensation for those employees.
For the employees subjected to such misclassification, it meant doing the same job but without the benefits or safety net of workers' compensation. It also meant that despite being labeled as an independent contractor, they faced many of the restrictions generally placed on employees, such as restrictions from working for other companies in addition to the hiring company.
Now when employees of those companies are injured on the job, there is no workers' compensation to help cover their medical expenses or lost wages because of the misclassification they've been given. This is where the law may be able to help. Workers' compensation attorneys in New York City understand the laws businesses must follow and know how to fight the misclassification some businesses have used in order to save money. These attorneys can investigate a given situation and fight to get injured employees the workers' compensation benefits they are rightfully entitled to have.
Source: The Washington Post, “Trucking used to be a ticket to the middle class. Now it's just another low-wage job.,” Lydia Depillis, April 28, 2014