Under the Dome

Leader named for NC worker-misclassification unit

A newly formed unit to crack down on employers who fail to carry proper insurance for their employees will be headed by Bradley Hicks, the governor announced on Monday.

Hicks will lead the Employee Classification Section in the state Industrial Commission. Gov. Pat McCrory established the section through executive order in December. The General Assembly failed to pass a bill last year cracking down on companies that illegally treat employees as contractors.

Hicks has been deputy director of the Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses. He was an attorney in Chapel Hill prior to working for the state, and worked for a Raleigh area investment firm. He graduated from UNC-Charlotte and obtained a law degree and MBA from N.C. Central University.

Misclassifying employees as contractors exempts them from workers’ compensation insurance if they are hurt on the job or laid off. It also puts businesses that comply with the law at a disadvantage with competitors that illegally shave labor costs.

State law requires any employer with three or more employees to provide workers' compensation insurance at no cost to the workers

A News & Observer investigation last year estimated that the state and federal governments last year lost $467 million a year in taxes in the construction industry alone.