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Q: I received a Notice of Penalty or Judgment for thousands of dollars from the NYS Workers Compensation Board for not having insurance coverage under Section 52(5). Can you help me fight it?

top.lawyers.arrive.mag.2011.jpgA: Our New York Employment Lawyers have represented many small business owners, individuals and homeowners (in cases involving nannys and household workers) and argued their best defenses before the Board in appeal and inquiries. We have saved our clients over one million dollars in penalties and fines. In doing so, our attorneys have assisted clients avoid bankruptcy, saved their life savings and protected their other assets. We can help you. Call our office to learn what we can do in your case. The worst step you can make is to ignore the notice as the penalties can increase significantly. Generally, employers are required to carry insurance for instances when an employee gets injured in the workplace. If an employer is not exempt and is found to have violated the statute, below are some of the potential consequences it could face:

1. Criminal: Under Section 52(1)(a) of the WC law, employers with five or more employees who violate the law are subject to a class E felony with monetary fine of no less than $5,000.00 and no more than $50,000.00. Companies with five or less workers are subject to a misdemeanor punishable by a monetary fine of no more than $5,000.00. Further, repeat offenders within the past five years, are subject to class D felony. These cases may be referred to the Attorney General’s office and local district attorney for prosecution. This is a serious matter.

2. Civil and Criminal – Misrepresentation: A company is required to keep accurate records of the number of employees, classification, wages and accidents for its business for the prior 4 years (WCL §131). If an employer does not keep proper records or tampers with their integrity by concealing data or understating data it may be subject to significant monetary fines. In addition, under Sec. 52(1)(d), there are potential criminal consequences for misrepresenting payroll and employment records. Some examples of violations include misclassifying works as “independent contractors” and not employees, and misstating the business’ industry to avoid paying higher premiums (i.e., calling construction workers as administrative staff). This is an area of scrutiny.

3. Civil Money Damages: Under Sec. 52(5), non-compliant employers face penalties of $2,000 dollars for each ten day period of non-compliance, which shall be paid into the uninsured employers’ fund. This penalty can be over $100,000.00 especially if the period of non-compliance is extended over years. Ignoring a notice from the Board is worst thing that you can do. The penalties can increase and converted later to a judgment when the Board can take enforcement steps to collect. For corporations, the president, secretary and treasurer can also be liable for the penalties.

If an employer does not contact the Board, the penalty may be converted into a judgment at a later point. Thereafter, the Board could seize your bank accounts and place a lien on your real property. For example, one client could not sell his house in Nassau County because a lien was placed on it. We acted quickly and were successful in removing the lien and saved our client’s real estate deal. It would have been a disaster if he lost his buyer and could not sell his home. If you received a notice, it is very important to take this matter seriously. Contact one of our skilled lawyers at (800) 893-9645 and learn how to protect yourself and your assets.

Disclaimer: 

Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.