Department Of Labor And Louisiana Workforce Commission Renew Agreement To Reduce Employee Misclassification
The United States Depart of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division and Louisiana Workforce Commission renewed efforts to combat employee labor violations in Louisiana last week. The DOL Wage and Hour Division announced that it will continue its efforts with the Louisiana Workforce commission to reduce employee misclassification violations in particular, through joint outreach, training, and enforcement between the division and commission. The three-year voluntary agreement was memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details procedures for both the DOL and the Louisiana Workforce Commission to address misclassification abuses. Specifically, under the MOU, the DOL and Louisiana Workforce Commission have agreed to provide cross-training between federal and state employees regarding employee misclassification abuses, and to share violation investigation and audit information with a view to enhance the agencies’ abilities to identify misclassification violations.
DOL and Louisiana Workforce Commission Crackdown on Employee Misclassification is a Win for Louisiana Employees
The cooperation between the DOL and Louisiana Workforce Commission is a positive move for Louisiana employees, due to the implications of employee misclassification for workers. By way of background, an employer may attempt to avoid labeling a worker as an “employee” in order to skirt paying unemployment taxes and other taxes under the law, and to circumvent state and federal laws that provide certain heightened rights to employees. Therefore, when an employer misclassifies a worker as an independent contractor, rather than an employee, the worker loses out on rights that employees have under state and federal wage and hour laws and labor laws and regulations, such as rights governing minimum wages and overtime (depending on the state), meal and rest periods, civil rights, health and safety, and expense reimbursement, to name a few.
Worker Misclassification and Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When an employee is injured on the job in Louisiana, generally they can seek workers’ compensation benefits under Louisiana workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation benefits include wage replacement while a worker is unable to perform their job, medical treatment, and rehabilitation, among other important benefits to help the worker return to work. One major implication for workers who are misclassified as independent contractors is the lack of entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits. This is because in general, only employees, and not independent contractors, are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Louisiana workers’ compensations laws. Accordingly, the joint efforts of the DOL and Louisiana Workforce Commission to fight employee misclassification is a fight to help workers preserve their rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you have been injured on the job in Louisiana and are unsure of your entitlement to benefits and next steps, the best thing to do is to reach out to an experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation attorney. The experienced Louisiana workers’ compensation lawyers at Lunsford, Baskin and Priebe offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case and to see if they can help. Contact the offices of Lunsford, Baskin and Priebe today to learn your rights and options.