Workers’ Compensation and Unemployment
You can’t avoid paying premiums or contributions to state agencies, but not every claim should be taken lying down. The assessment of an experienced lawyer may help you decide when to challenge an unfounded workers’ compensation or unemployment claim.
When your dealings with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation don’t involve a claim, but rather an audit for employer premiums that seem inconsistent with the makeup of your workforce, we will assist you in the preparation process and any hearing that may be called for to challenge the audit results.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) was created at a time when employees were provided with very little in the way of safety devices. Today, employers must be continually vigilant of changes in OSHA’s practices and goals, and of the increasing number of retaliation claims brought by employees or witnesses. It is important to develop and consistently implement policies and practices to ensure workplace safety, and if you find yourself dealing with a scheduled OSHA inspection or a surprise OSHA visit that could result in costly citations, we will help you weigh the pros and cons of defending or negotiating these charges.
Ohio remains one of only four states with a monopolistic state workers’ compensation system, where premiums paid to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation are assessed and used to administer claims made against state-funded employers. Together with your third-party administrator, we will help you determine which claims should be allowed or contested, and how to do so cost-effectively. Not managing these claims can have a lasting impact on your premiums – managing them closely now can relieve some of those future costs. For those businesses that the state has permitted to self-insure, our zealous representation of contested claims will help ensure employer savings.
Other aspects of workers’ compensation law include Violations of Specific Safety Requirements (VSSRs) and intentional tort claims. When faced with a VSSR or an intentional tort suit, an employer’s best defense is preparedness and being able to demonstrate how safety is an integral part of the business. Employers who are able to foresee legal risk with the help of counsel are better equipped to defend such claims.
Independent Contractor or Employee?
The government has made no bones about its efforts to raise revenues by challenging employee or contractor classifications. Not only is this issue one of interest to the Internal Revenue Service, but thanks to information sharing, other agencies at the state and local level are also collectively pursuing companies they believe should be making contributions or paying premiums into various funds. This includes, but is not limited to, the Ohio Department of Taxation, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. We will help you properly identify and document a legitimate contractor relationship.