In an economic landscape that has been devastated throughout “The Great Recession,” workers are finding themselves in desperate situations that, as they say, call for desperate measures. As such, one might be willing to accept a position with a lesser compensation or benefits package simply because there are not many jobs to choose from. Unfortunately, Texas employers seem to be capitalizing off of this, as there seems to be an overwhelming prevalence of misclassification of employees.
One recent report by the Workers Defense Project claims that over 40 percent of Texas construction workers are misclassified as independent contractors. Employers know that by classifying their workers as independent contractors, they do not have to observe discriminatory employment practices. Such workers are also not protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act or the National Labor Relations Act.
There are other overt effects of classifying a worker as an independent contractor rather than employee. For instance, deceitful employers do not have to deal with deductions, workers compensation, overtime pay or benefits packages. This practice also negatively affects all Texas residents due to losses in tax revenue and, of course, the fact that other residents are forced to contribute to social programs that compensate for the employer not contributing to workers compensation and unemployment.
This issue has reached epidemic proportions for Texas residents. It seems the only way to prevent these illegal practices is for legitimate business owners, organized labor forces, legal, regulatory and governmental agencies to coalesce and demand more significant penalties and significant enforcement. Accordingly, Texas workers who suspect that they have been subjected to or are aware of cases of misclassification of employees can seek legal assistance, and, in many cases, receive compensation for back pay.
Source: Facing South, Employee or independent contractor? Employer fraud costs workers, Chris Wagner, Oct. 2, 2013