Businesses in the Construction Industry: Beware the Independent Contractor Risks

SGFS welcomes Brian Keeley to the firm. Brian is an employment lawyer who represents businesses in employment, employee benefits, and litigation matters. Just before joining the firm, Brian co-wrote and article about the dangers of using independent contractors or subcontractors. The article ran in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, and the Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC) reprinted it.

The US Department of Labor recently dropped some not-so-subtle hints that it would step up its investigations into businesses that misuse the independent contractor label and treat workers as independent contractors who could be considered to be the business’s employees instead. The risks to businesses can be substantial: if a worker who was treated as an independent contractor is re-classified as an employee, they could be owed back pay and back benefits, and the business that they worked for could owe back income and payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, workers’ compensation premiums, and penalties and interest. Any business that engages others to do work who aren’t employees (including subcontractors at any level) could be at risk. Please take a look at the article, and contact Schlemlein Goetz Fick and Scruggs, PLLC by phone at 206-448-8100 and ask for Brian or email Brian at if you think you might be at risk or want to confirm that you are not.