Ask anyone who works in the Coachella Valley construction business: misclassification of workers as independent contractors is common in the industry. Misclassification enables unethical employers to avoid the normal costs of doing business, and it puts those costs right on the backs of injured workers, their families, and California taxpayers.
No one knows exactly how many construction workers are misclassified, partially because the misclassification is illegal and therefore hidden. But a couple of years ago, a McClatchy newspaper chain investigation found that 37 percent of Texas construction workers were misclassified, enabling their employers to dodge paying premiums for unemployment insurance and workers' compensation insurance.
Misclassification hurts construction workers in other ways, too. Because the workers are misclassified as independent contractors, the employers can pretend they have no salaried employees on jobsites. And OSHA regulations don't cover independent contractors.
Also, because the workers are unlikely to be able to successfully apply for workers' comp, the employers have less incentive to spend money on training and safety gear, again putting workers at greater risk.
In some cases, covered workers are afraid to even apply for workers' comp, fearing that they will lose their jobs in retaliation. But when it comes to serious injuries that can mean months, years or even a lifetime away from the workplace, they have little choice but to apply for the benefits they need. Even then, insurers will try to deny the benefits, prompting the worker to seek representation from an attorney experienced in workers' comp appeals.
Please see our Construction Accidents page for more information on how English Lloyd & Armenta can help you fight for your benefits.