DWD Worker Classification
Report Suspected Misclassified Workers
Wisconsin employers have an obligation under the unemployment, workers compensation, labor standards and civil rights laws to classify their workers correctly as either "employees" or "independent contractors".
- Employees are entitled to protections under the unemployment, worker's compensation, labor standards and civil rights laws.
- Independent contractors are not entitled to all of those same protections.
How to Report
The department relies on citizen involvement to report situations where workers may be misclassified.
If you suspect misclassified workers are being utilized at a business or job site, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to provide the department with that information.
The department works to ensure that workers are properly classified as employees or independent contractors through compliance programs.
Department field auditors conduct routine periodic examinations of employer records. The specific audit objectives include investigating alleged independent contractor issues, determining compliance with unemployment insurance reporting requirements, and investigating suspected unemployment insurance benefit fraud.
The department conducts worksite compliance investigations. The department is authorized by Wis. Stat. § 103.06, to conduct compliance investigations at construction worksites as defined in Wis. Stat. § 108.18 (2)(c) to determine if workers are being properly classified as employees or independent contractors and to determine if employers are providing workers compensation coverage for their employees.
If an employer is found to be improperly classifying workers as independent contractors, civil penalties, including stop work orders, may result.
In addition, the unemployment insurance, workers compensation, labor standards and civil rights laws all state that employers who are engaged in the painting or drywall finishing of buildings or other structures who willfully provide false information to the department for the purpose of misclassifying or attempting to misclassify a worker as an independent contractor can be fined $25,000 for each violation. Employers described in Wis. Stat. § 108.18 (2)(c), include those engaged in the construction of roads, bridges, highways, sewers, water mains, utilities, public buildings, factories, housing, or similar construction projects.