Employers beware – misclassifying employees could lead to jail time in some states

Pennsylvania Senator Mike Stack has proposed a new state bill to punish Pennsylvania employers who misclassify independent contractors.  These employers are wrongfully avoiding paying overtime, taxes and workers compensation premiums, and excluding these workers from employer sponsored benefits.   His bill (PA Senate Bill 1454) would allow local DA’s to prosecute these employers with punishments including substantial fines and jail time.  Pennsylvania already has a law, as do many other states, including the US Department of Labor, which provides civil/financial penalties to employers who misclassify.

The State of Colorado has also joined the effort by becoming the 11th state in the nation to join the Department of Labor’s Misclassification Initiative in 2011, by participating in a Partnership Agreement to clean up employee misclassification. This partnership allows the agencies to notify each other about potential employer violations of each agency’s statutes, perform investigations and enforce violations. Colorado employers found in violation of employee misclassification could find themselves facing substantial financial penalties. 

In addition to the Agreement with the US Department of Labor, the State of Colorado has HB09-1310.  This state law’s penalty will cost employers $5,000 for the first misclassified employee, and for the second and subsequent misclassified employees an employer can be fined up to $25,000 per misclassification.

If you wish to find out more about Independent Contractors, please read my blog article.

Please contact StaffScapes if you have questions regarding how you are classifying independent contractors at (303) 466-7864, or you can find additional information at the Colorado Division of Labor and Employment.Read More