Workers’ compensation benefits may seem fairly cut and dry to most in Shelton: one has the right to financial assistance and other benefits related to their jobs. Yet for those who have historically been classified as self-employed or independent contractors, things can be much more murky. In most cases, these workers are not entitled to the same protections as traditional employees. Indeed, many industries may benefit from not having to carry such benefits for their workforces. Those working in such a situation may be forced to fight (even against their employers) in order to guarantee protections for both themselves and their coworkers.
Such is the struggle that is currently facing farm workers in New York state. Their recent efforts, however, have prompted the state to introduce a labor bill that would allow them to unionize, collect overtime pay, take days off and enjoy other employment benefits. While local farmers have said that they support the legislation, they recently banded together to file a lawsuit to delay its implementation. Their concern is that there are still ambiguities on the bill that need to be addressed, specifically terms which classify themselves, their family members and their management team as covered workers. This conflicts with federal law which does not allow such parties from assisting in labor union activities.
As this case demonstrates, the legal issues that can manifest themselves when dealing with employment benefits like workers’ compensation can be quite complex. Those unfamiliar with the statutes and standards governing these issues might struggle in adequately representing themselves and their interests. For this reason, having the assistance of an attorney with labor law experience may be a huge benefit.