Workers March in Memorial of Employee Deaths in North Carolina

According to a recent news article from WRAL, workers in Raleigh, North Carolina marched from the site of a fatal construction accident in remembrance of workers who died or suffered severe on-the-job injury.

constructionworker.jpgThose taking part in the march included members of a national labor union, the North Carolina Counsel of Churches, a farm labor organization, and several other state workers’ rights group. This march was held on International Workers’ Memorial Day.

The site of the accident chosen as the starting place for this year’s march was the construction site where three workers died last month when scaffolding collapsed around a partially completed apartment building in downtown Raleigh. Marchers prayed for these three deceased workers and their families before commencing the march.

Marchers carried signs and placards with them listing the names of 109 North Carolina workers who died on the job in 2013. They carried those signs to state Department of Labor (DOL) offices. One of the messages they wanted to send to the state labor commissioner was about her alleged failure to meaningfully address child labor issues and issues pertaining to the rights of contract workers.

As our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, independent contractors often face particular difficulties when they are injured on the job. An employee is deemed eligible for compensation under the state’s workers’ compensation system, and employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance or provide proof they are properly self-bonded and have funds set aside to pay any claims.

Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not considered employees, and thus not entitled to benefits or workers’ compensation benefits. There is a test as to whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, and there are many factors as part of this, but there are only four or five courts really consider when making a determination.

The most important factor is often called the control test. Under the control test, courts look at how much control an employer or contractor has over worker’s performance. For example, if you hire someone to paint your garage, you typically pick a color and let them go to work. They provide their own tools and equipment, use as many workers as they deem necessary, and get the job without your involvement or interference. Once the job is complete, they show you the work and ask what you think. In this case, you have hired an independent contractor to paint your garage. You do not have an employee.

On the other hand, if a contractor is hired to paint your garage, and he hires someone to work for him, he will probably supervise the employee’s conduct, pay the employee for the number of hours on the job, routinely inspect the work while it is still underway, and make changes when necessary. This painter is probably an employee of contractor.

A problem arises when a construction company hires people as laborers and supervises them as if they were employees, but tells them when to get to work, when to take breaks, and when to leave, and then tries to treat them like independent contractors when it comes to denying them benefits.

If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Workers’ advocates march from site of fatal construction accident , April 28, 2015, WRAL

More Blog Entries:
Shubert v. Macy’s West, Inc. – Failure to Adhere to Care Plan, March 19, 2015, Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

Contact Information