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Minnesota Legal Reference Library
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Contract Law - Employment and Labor Law

Independent Contractors

Resources in this category:
   Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors (November 28, 2007) (Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor)

Major Findings:

  • Using independent contractors instead of employees can significantly reduce an organization’s labor costs. However, when employers misclassify employees as independent contractors, the misclassified workers are denied benefits and protections that should be available to them.
  • An estimated 14 percent of Minnesota employers subject to unemployment insurance taxes—or 1 in 7—misclassified at least one worker in 2005. This estimate is conservative because it excludes employers that fail to register with the unemployment system.
  • The departments of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Labor and Industry (DLI), and Revenue (DOR) administer and enforce laws that require them to determine whether workers have been properly classified.
  • These agencies’ efforts to detect and deter misclassification range from very limited to modest, and they are not well coordinated.
  • Because of limits in state law, employers are normally not penalized specifically for misclassifying workers; rather, they may be penalized for related failures to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or withhold income taxes from employees’ wages.
Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a problem in Minnesota, and state government needs to establish a coordinated response."

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