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Can you defend against misclassification claims by hurt workers?

Workers’ compensation coverage is not cheap to obtain, and it will likely cost more if your business has big claims against that coverage. When someone who works for your company has an injury or develops a medical condition they claim relates to their work, they could try to bring a workers’ compensation claim against your insurance policy.

However, when a worker is actually self-employed or an independent contractor, workers’ compensation won’t cover them. Some of these workers will try to claim you misclassified them so that they can get benefits anyway.

How do you defend against misclassification claims made by workers who want workers’ compensation?

Show that the worker’s situation was clearly that of a contractor

Being an employee or an independent contractor isn’t always a black-and-white matter. Numerous people fall into a gray area in the law. For example, they may have filled out tax paperwork as an independent contractor but are then treated the same as a company’s employees.

The differences between an independent contractor and an employee are complex, but you may be able to defend against claims that you misclassified a worker by showing that they clearly fall in the category of independent contractor. Providing their own tools, setting their own schedules and picking their own work projects are among the actions that would help show a worker is actually a contractor and not an employee.

The less micromanagement and oversight your company provides for their work, the weaker their claim of misclassification may be. Clearly demonstrating that a worker was not an employee at the time of their injury could help you defend against a workers’ compensation claim.