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Pa. bill creates employer penalties in comp worker misclassification


Pennsylvania lawmakers on Wednesday filed legislation that would penalize employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid workers compensation.

House Bill 2411 would create both administrative and criminal penalties for employers who fail to properly classify workers to avoid having to provide workers compensation benefits.

Employers found to be in violation could be issued stop-work orders and could also be referred to the state attorney general’s office for criminal investigation.

The legislation provides for an affirmative defense in cases where employers “in good faith” believed employees to be qualified as independent contractors.

Employers who violate the law could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if there are no prior offenses or a third-degree felony if the employer has one or more prior offenses.

Employers could also face a summary offense punishable by a fine of no more than $1,000.

The bill would also permit employees who are misclassified as independent contractors who are fired, threatened or otherwise retaliated against to file civil litigation against the employer.

The measure was referred to the House Labor and Industry Committee.