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Although liability under the new law extends to anyone who advises an employer to misclassify a worker, it does not extend to attorneys.
Employers who violate the rules or misclassify an employee would be subject to a fine of up to $1,100 per worker for the first offense and up to $5,000 per worker for willful or repeat violations.
Many businesses rely on that lack of knowledge to utilize unfair bargaining power and misclassify employees and avoid paying overtime wages.
Proposals that would have cracked down on employers who knowingly misclassify construction employees and contribute to an ever-growing undocumented workforce are likely dead this session.
Employers who misclassify individuals that truly should be considered employees may be liable under statutes that provide for certain wage and benefit remedies.
On April 14, the Treasury Department announced a legislative proposal to eliminate past employment tax liability for employers that misclassify workers but fall just short of meeting section 530 requirements (see the sidebar for more information).
It is an industry practice to misclassify newspaper carriers as independent contractors so the newspaper can avoid paying the taxes and other employee benefits associated with their being an employee," said Daniel J.
But many in the industry say it is also a breeding ground for payroll and tax fraud, and rife with employers who knowingly misclassify their employees, a practice that perpetuates the hiring of illegal workers.
In some cases, employers misclassify workers to avoid paying overtime wages and save money for the company.
Marek said employers purposely misclassify employees as subcontractors, or "1099" workers - so named because of the federal employment form they fill out - to avoid paying payroll taxes, workers' compensation and overtime, Marek said, but also to avoid knowing their workers' legal status.
The Service says one in seven employers misclassify a total of 3.
The reason the Union Tribune attempted to misclassify the carrier as independent contractors was to avoid taxes and potential liability for carriers' accidents on the road.
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