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New task force in Wisconsin targets worker classifications

Most people's work is hard enough without extra drawbacks that can come with increased risks and decreased benefits. Many who work in a factory, construction site or fishing boat in Wisconsin knows someone who got hurt on the job. There are plenty of problems after a workplace injury, and they start with the cost of recovery.

Workers' compensation and the insurance programs that support it keep injured employees afloat while they deal with the results of an accident. But sometimes employers will try to cut costs by classifying some people who move their businesses forward as something less than employees.

The governor in Madison is taking issue with this practice by creating a task force to investigate employee misclassification by the people who hire them. The groups will aid law enforcement in identifying and dealing with employers who may be saving taxes or unemployment insurance payments at the expense of their workers.

Leaders from key agencies across Wisconsin will assist in this new mission to enforce the many laws that involve independent contractors. Like most U.S. jurisdictions, the Badger State has no clear law on the difference between employers and independent contractors. Workers should pay attention to the details of their work arrangements, so they know their exact benefits in the case of an injury.

Workers who have been denied workers' compensation claims may have a case for financial damages in civil court or a chance to appeal the decision in administrative courts. Legal representation is often the best way to challenge what may be an unfair decision regarding reimbursement or benefits.

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