Bangor forum looks at worker misclassification

Bangor Daily News
Posted Nov. 08, 2009, at 11:37 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Members of Gov. John Baldacci’s Joint Task Force on Employee Misclassification will be in Bangor today to receive comments from workers, businesses and the general public on the scope and impact of worker misclassification in the Maine economy.

The forum begins at 5 p.m. at the Bangor CareerCenter on 45 Oak St.

The forum will be led by state Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. Other sessions are planned at the Lewiston CareerCenter at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, and the Portland CareerCenter at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.

“Misclassification has an … impact that extends well beyond the worker,” Fortman said. “Companies that misclassify workers place law-abiding businesses at a competitive disadvantage and shift the cost of unpaid taxes and insurance premiums to the general public. We want to hear from people who have been impacted and we want their ideas on how this issue can be best addressed in Maine.”

Employee misclassification occurs when employers hire workers as independent contractors when legally they should be classified as employees. The task force was established by executive order by Baldacci earlier this year and the panel is charged with developing strategies to increase public awareness of misclassification and to coordinate state response.

Employment audits by the state Department of Labor have found that more employers are misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The practice often leads to employers or workers evading legal obligations under employment and tax laws, including laws governing minimum wage, overtime, prevailing wage, unemployment insurance, income taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, temporary disability, wage payment and child support, the department said.

For information, to request an accommodation, or to send written comment, call Adam Fisher at 621-5092 or TTY: 800-794-1110.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/11/08/politics/bangor-forum-looks-at-worker-misclassification/ printed on December 18, 2014