Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation and Employee Misclassification

injured workers misclassifedMost workers in Wisconsin qualify for worker’s compensation benefits. However, some employers may misclassify their workers as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits. By listing certain workers as independent contractors instead of employees, a company may pay less for worker’s comp insurance.

If a misclassified employee gets injured on the job, he or she may be unable to receive worker’s comp benefits for medical expenses and lost wages. At Sigman Janssen, we have helped many injured workers obtain the benefits they are rightfully owed under the Wisconsin worker’s compensation program.

Injured workers who are improperly classified as independent contractors may be eligible to file a third-party claim against an employer. Schedule a free consultation to see how we may be able to help you. We are ready to answer any questions you may have about the worker’s comp claims process.

Call (920) 328-0700 for a Free Case Review.

Employee Misclassification is a Serious Issue

Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance that protects an employer or company from claims by employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Employers are generally required to provide coverage for their employees. Most workers are covered – unless you are an independent contractor.

Although an employer can save money if they do not list a worker as an employee, doing so is illegal. Employee misclassification is a serious issue that can lead to complications when a worker is injured on the job. An employee who is misclassified can not only be denied worker’s comp benefits, but he or she may also be denied access to other benefits such as overtime pay and unemployment insurance.

Workers as Employees or Independent Contractors

For those injured in a workplace accident, employee misclassification becomes problematic as soon as they file for worker’s compensation benefits. Workers may be surprised when their claims are denied, and they are notified that they are listed in the system as an independent contractor and not an employee.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) requires coverage for full-time and part-time workers and others who have been hired to do certain jobs. Since independent contractors are not considered employees, Wisconsin employers are not legally obligated to provide coverage.

However, an employer does not get to choose who is an independent contractor. A worker is also not an independent contractor just because an employer or company says he or she is one.

Wis. Stats. § 102.07(8) outlines a number of conditions that must be met in a nine-part test to consider a worker as an independent contractor. The conditions for independent contractors include:

  • Maintaining a separate business
  • Filing self-employment taxes
  • Maintaining their own expenses
  • Being responsible for satisfactory work completion
  • Receiving compensation on a per-contract basis
  • Subjecting themselves to the profits and losses of the industry
  • Operating under a specific contract
  • Having recurring contractual obligations
  • Personally succeeding or failing based on their own performance

If all the above requirements are not met – for worker’s compensation purposes – a worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor. This means he or she has the right to worker’s compensation benefits in the event of a work-related injury or illness. Companies in Wisconsin can face serious consequences for misclassifying or attempting to misclassify a worker.

Appealing a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you believe you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you may have already been denied worker’s comp benefits. If that is the case, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Our firm is well-versed in appealing worker’s compensation claim denials and is prepared to help you and your family during this difficult time. There is only so much time to file an appeal.

At an appeal hearing, you will be able to present evidence and testimony to support your claim. This is only possible if your worker’s comp claim is not settled beforehand. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review all the evidence submitted and issue a decision based on his or her findings.

We know how lengthy and complex the worker’s comp appeals process can be. We are prepared to gather the necessary evidence of your employment status and argue your case before an ALJ.

Injured at Work? Contact an Experienced Lawyer

An experienced and licensed Appleton-based worker’s compensation lawyer is here to help you – whether that means filing or appealing a worker’s comp claim to get you the benefits you need.

We are ready to review your situation in a free consultation to determine if you have been misclassified by your employer. Employers who intentionally misclassify employees to save money should be held accountable for their actions. If you have a valid claim, we charge zero upfront fees for our services.

Have a Question? Call (920) 328-0700.