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Could employer misclassification prevent a workers’ comp claim?

Whether you work as a customer service professional or are in the construction industry, if you get hurt on the job, you will probably need workers’ compensation benefits to help you recover lost wages and pay for the medical care you require.

Ohio law requires that employers provide workers’ compensation coverage for all of their staff members. However, if your employer has intentionally misclassified you, one of the consequences of that improper classification might be that you don’t initially qualify for workers’ compensation.

What is misclassification?

Most people who work for a company are either hourly or salaried employees. The company has to carry workers’ compensation insurance and pay certain employment taxes because of the financial obligation and benefits that come from hiring a worker.

Some companies try to keep their costs low and pass them on to their employees by classifying their employees as independent contractors. Just because your employer had you fill out a 1099 form instead of a W-2 when you were hired, that does not mean that you are a contractor with no right to workers’ comp. You may have to push back against your employer’s misclassification of you to get the benefits you need.

How can you show that you are an employee?

The line between employee and contractor is somewhat blurry. Some contractors work for the same company for many years, so the length of employment is not the deciding factor.

Instead, the issues you need to consider are whether or not your company provided you with equipment, whether the work you did was part of their primary operations and whether they closely manage how and when you did the work, among other factors.

Discussing your employment situation with an attorney experienced with Ohio workers’ compensation law can give you an idea about whether a misclassification claim could help you get benefits after you get hurt on the job.