Stings Uncover Employers’ Failure to Provide Workers Comp Coverage
Worker’s Comp is the nation’s oldest social insurance program. Adopted in California during the 1920s, its purpose is to provide prompt, effective medical treatment for injuries or illnesses that occur on the job, without having to determine fault. The trade-off to employers is that employees cannot then sue over these injuries.
Penalties for Employers with No Workers Comp Insurance
Any business in the state of California with at least one employee is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to provide such insurance can result in severe consequences. For instance, significant fines (up to $100,000) can be imposed by the state, plus, the owner of the business can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and face additional fines and/or possibly even time in jail.
Furthermore, should a company fail to provide workers comp insurance to employees, they open themselves up to a civil suit by the injured worker. In such cases, the employee may receive compensation from the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (a state-administered fund that covers injured workers in the event their employer had no insurance). However, the employer is not off the hook. In those cases, the state is authorized to seek reimbursement from the uninsured employer.
No Retaliation against Employees who File Workers Comp Claims
Employees are protected from retaliation by employers for filing a workers comp claim. Of course, California is an at-will state, which means employees may be terminated at any time, for “any” reason. However, that reason must not be due to an employee filing a workers comp claim. Retaliation claims against employers can result in severe penalties (up to $10,000 in California).
Sting Uncovers Contractors with No Workers Comp Insurance
California takes seriously the requirement for employers to carry workers comp insurance. For instance, a recent undercover sting operation in Bakersfield, initiated by the Contractors State License Board, led to the prosecution of nine contractors who failed to provide workers’ comp insurance to their employees.
The undercover team, working out of a single-family home near Liberty Park, posed as homeowners seeking bids on home improvement projects ranging in cost from $950 to $4,200. Their targets were several contractors whom they suspected were unlicensed. (In California, it is illegal for anyone without a license to perform contracting work on a project with a combined labor and material cost of $500 or more.)
Workers Comp Sting Also Revealed Unlicensed Contractors
The operation was successful, and in addition to revealing contractors who were operating without a valid license, it also uncovered nine suspects who allegedly did not have workers’ insurance policies to cover those working for them. If they are indeed found guilty, first-conviction penalties include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. The nine suspects will appear in court in June.
According to the CSLB, one of the suspects caught in the sting operation was allegedly illegally using a contractor license number that was expired, and he will face additional charges. If convicted, he will face additional fines of up to $10,000 and the possibility of up to a year in prison.
Long Beach Workers Comp Lawyers
California’s workers comp laws are meant to protect employees and provide a means of getting injured employees the medical assistance they need. If you are injured on the job and discover your employer does not carry workers comp insurance, our attorneys can help you understand your rights and remedies and ensure that you get the medical treatment you need.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.