Failed bill would have made changes
I am a lawyer and lobbyist for the folks who sign the back of their paychecks, not the front. I want to publicly thank Sen. Bill Hamilton and Sen. John Pitsenbarger for voting against SB 528 during the most recent legislative session. It only passed the Senate by one vote before the House of Delegates wisely killed it.
If SB 528 had passed, this would be the result: Workers such as janitors could have been made to bring to work their own tools and supplies at their own expense so the company could make them into independent contractors. Companies could have said it was legal to discriminate against older workers and women and handicapped in hiring and promotion and lay offs.
Workers made into independent contractors under the bill who were hurt on the job with minor injuries that required missing some work and resulted in some doctor bills could not have received Workers Compensation, and so they would not have been reimbursed for lost wages and medical care.
Small businesses whose workers had major injuries would have been sued in court instead of having the injuries and lost income covered by Workers Compensation insurance.
People who used to be hired as employees would be labeled independent contractors, and they would not receive Unemployment Compensation benefits when they were laid off, like the benefits they are receiving now if they are laid off due to the virus pandemic.
Finally, small businesses that are fair to their employees would have been squeezed by competition from companies, particularly big companies with in-house lawyers, that scheme to make their workers into independent contractors.
Thanks to Hamilton and Pitsenbarger for trying to stop this bill in the Senate. Please vote to send them back to the Legislature in the coming election.
We need them.
David B. McMahon, J.D.