Labor Activist Virginia Diamond featured in Bloomberg Article
On August 14, 2014, the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, signed an executive order to create a task force to monitor and minimize payroll fraud and worker misclassification in the state.
This order comes in response to a telling June 2012 report by the Virginia Joint-Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). According to the findings of the report, approximately one third of the employers in specific industries who were audited for the report misclassified their workers. Many workers were misclassified as “contract employees,” allowing the employers to avoid three important workers rights. As “contract employees,” the employers did not have to:
- Buy workers’ compensation
- Comply with wage laws
- Pay unemployment insurance and payroll taxes
The newly assembled, inter-agency task force has been commissioned with weeding out this state-wide problem.
McAuliffe, a strong supporter of workers’ rights, said, “Every Virginian who works hard and follows the rules should get the pay and benefits they deserve. This executive order will begin a process to ensure that employers throughout the Commonwealth follow the same rules when it comes to benefits and pay for their employees.”
Virginia Diamond, one of Virginia’s top labor lawyers and labor union activists was asked to explain a reason why some employers would purposely misclassify employees, a situation Ms. Diamond calls an “epidemic” in Virginia. Ms. Diamond explained that because these employers don’t pay required wage an insurance premiums, they can underbid other companies who follow the rules.” She continued, saying, “Workers are exploited and taken advantage of. They’re not given the basic wage protections.” Hopefully, this new task force will minimize if not eliminate this labor problem entirely.