You've been served with a notice from the Workers Compensation Board's Bureau of Compliance. This might not be the first one. You can't remember. There are so many forms to fill out for taxes, insurance, licensing, payroll, client management, permits, invoices, and the work you hoped to do as an entrepreneur. You try, but you really can't keep them all straight, especially when you're busy just trying to provide the product or service that keeps the level of cash flow where you need it to be. You're doing your best, and you've done what you thought you needed to do to comply with all laws, rules and regulations. Doesn't that count for something? How can a business that barely breaks even owe the State hundreds of thousands of dollars for not having workers compensation insurance, especially when you don't have employees?
Maybe you thought it was a mistake, so you didn't take the prior notices very seriously. This one got your attention. You're afraid it will put you out of business, if not also in jail.
I don't exactly agree with the tactics the Board is using to ensure compliance, but it is effective. Many business owners fail to give the notices proper attention until they receive the one with the huge penalty allegations. Fortunately, the Board's primary goal is to get you in compliance. It doesn't actually want to force you into bankruptcy and have you become dependent upon public assistance. In fact, the State would probably like to see you grow and hire employees so more people could support themselves financially. With these goals in mind, The Law Studio helps you get in compliance, explain your (or the State's) good faith mistakes and negotiate a fair resolution of the penalties due. We basically use the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process to identify your interests and balance them with the State's to create financial freedom for both of you, while also ensuring everyone fulfills their responsibilities. We love this kind of win-win and think you will, too.
Although we want you to feel a sense of peace that this will all work out for the best, failure to respond to Workers Compensation penalty notices can have damaging effects, such as Stop Work Orders, seized bank accounts or arrest. So, please do not use a contact form to communicate with us if you have a notice that you need to address. Please call us at 212.804.7039, or call the New York City Bar Association Referral Service at 212.626.7373 (212.626.7374 para Espanol) to connect to an attorney who practices Workers Compensation Law for employers.
Once you have an attorney helping you navigate the process for filing an Application for Review of Penalties, the below blog posts might help you relieve some of your confusion:
- Do I need workers compensation insurance for my business?
- Why do I need workers compensation insurance if I don't have employees?
- Are the considerations for independent contractors the same, according to the IRS, DOL and WCB?
- If my workers and I signed Independent Contractor Agreements, am I exempt from workers compensation requirements?
- What happens if I don't have workers compensation insurance and I get audited?
- What happens if I don't have workers compensation insurance and someone on one of my projects gets hurt?
- How much will workers compensation insurance cost me?
- Do I need a lawyer to respond to a Workers Compensation Penalty Notice?
NOTE: This post is a general overview of worker misclassification. Neither it nor the blog posts linked are legal advice. There is certainly no guarantee that your case will generate a similar or specific result. Past success is never a guarantee of a future outcome. If you require information or advice applied to your unique situation, please make an appointment to discuss it with an attorney. Don't rely solely on what you read on the Internet.