If you drive about an hour and a half northeast of Tulsa, you will come to the town of Miami. That is where Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Labor Melissa Houston recently spoke to a group of community leaders on a variety of subjects.
Oklahoma has questions and our state Supreme Court has answers. No one knows yet when those answers about workers' compensation will be delivered, however. As you know, last month the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the opt-out portion of our 2013 workers' comp overhaul is unconstitutional. The court is to publish a mandate informing businesses of the steps they must take to bring their workers' injury plans in to compliance with state statutes.
It's a dodge used by some unscrupulous construction businesses in Tulsa and elsewhere: misclassifying employees. Like most shady business dealings, it is done to enhance a business's bottom line at the expense of employees. An employee misclassified as independent contractor can be denied unemployment insurance and other benefits. Perhaps the most important benefit that they can lose is when they are injured and need workers' compensation, the U.S. Department of Labor says.