Put simply, misclassification is the practice of treating working Kansans as independent contractors instead of as employees. Many dishonest employers will deliberately classify employees as independent contracts and, in doing so, skirt filling out appropriate paperwork, such as the I-9 (immigration form) and paying taxes, workers compensation and unemployment insurance, gaining an unfair advantage over those Kansas employers who do play by the rules.
And, not unlike years past, House Republicans are up to their bag of tricks doing the bidding of the wealthy Kansas Chamber of Commerce, seeking to make it harder for misclassified employees to seek relief and easier for private business to exploit the Kansas working class.
House Bill 2135, while it originally completely eliminated the rules regarding misclassification, today shifts the burden to the misclassified employee and/or the state to prove an employee has been illegally misclassified. A burden that once rested on the employer has been shifted to the employee, making it harder to prosecute and hold those who misclassify accountable.
Worse yet, the legislation grants the Secretary of Labor — appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback — the authority to waive all penalties for an employer found to have unlawfully classified employees as independent contractors. Giving those who give the most campaign cash a nice opportunity to skirt Kansas law.
House Bill 2135 is another illustration of the attempt of House Republicans to provide their wealthy special interests with another opportunity to exploit cheap labor, particularly undocumented workers. Let there be no doubt, HB 2135 will lead to the further hiring of undocumented workers in Kansas.