NC board takes action against construction firms

From the Charlotte News & Observer, Mandy Lock and Rick Rothacker report that state licensing boards are imposing discipline on plumbing, HVAC, and fire sprinkler companies that misclassify workers as independent contractors instead of employees.  They also report efforts by Representative Gary Pendleton, a Republican from Wake County, to strengthen the laws.  They write:

Pendleton, who was elected in the fall, said there is far more the state can do to ensure that businesses follow these laws. As a financial consultant and former board member for WakeMed Hospital, Pendleton said he’s seen the damage businesses can do when they shirk their duty to workers and cheat honest competitors.

His proposal would create a five-person task force charged with investigating complaints of misclassification. The group would analyze data from multiple agencies to detect scofflaws and alert every agency with enforcement responsibility. Those agencies, including the state Department of Labor, the Industrial Commission and Department of Revenue, would be required to alert the task force of any instance of misclassification they find.

The bill would define misclassification and prohibit the practice under state law. Repeat offenders would face fines of up to $1,000 for each employee.

General contractors engaged in misclassification would risk losing their licenses. All other trades that must apply for a professional license in the state must certify that they have read and understand the law against misclassifying workers.

Pendleton said he’s gotten the blessing of Gov. Pat McCrory’s team. At least two other Republicans in the state House are helping sponsor the bill….

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