Illinois Businesses Illegally Classifying Employees as Independent Contractors

State agencies including the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission are joining together to crack down on businesses that improperly classify employees as independent contractors.

In contrast to employees, independent contractors who get hurt while working are not eligible for workers’ compensation.

Some business owners may make an honest mistake in misclassifying employees, but others do it deliberately in an illegal attempt to keep costs down, thereby gaining a competitive business advantage. State officials say the recent crackdown is aimed at businesses engaging in deliberate employee misclassification.

If you are hurt on the job and believe you cannot receive workers’ compensation because you are an independent contractor, you should make sure that your job classification is correct. Your employment status cannot be arbitrarily determined by your employer; it is determined by a variety of factors, including the manner in which your employer manages your work.

If your employer has a good deal of control over your work, you are likely an employee. Employers can tell employees when to work and how to do their jobs and will often provide tools and supplies. The same cannot always be said of an independent contractor.

Misclassification is bad for employees because they are not financially compensated in case of injury and cannot earn overtime. The State of Illinois says that it is bad for the economy as well; it increases the burden of insurance and taxes on honest business owners, raising their overhead and making it more difficult for them to stay competitive with businesses that break the law.

If you have been injured on the job or are unsure whether you should be classified as an independent contractor, we can help.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago workers’ compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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