BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Workforce Commission today announced a Workers’ Compensation fraud detection program aimed at identifying and bringing into compliance businesses that are not providing workers’ compensation coverage for employees they are required to cover.
LWC Executive Director Tim Barfield and Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration Director Chris Broadwater were joined by David Caldwell, the deputy director of the Office of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division, in announcing the program.
“All employers doing business in Louisiana are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Businesses that are not covering their employees are shortchanging those employees and driving up costs for other businesses,” Barfield said. “This is an important step in creating a level playing field for all businesses to compete fairly.”
The Office of Workers’ Compensation typically learns about potential employer noncompliance from its fraud hotline or directly from its Finance and Compliance Section. Noncompliance can be the result of misclassifying employees, failing to maintain workers’ compensation coverage for employees or operating in the underground economy by working individuals completely off the books.
As part of its fraud detection program, the LWC has expanded the role of some staff members within its Office of Workers’ Compensation to better target businesses that are not complying. The LWC also has restructured operations within its Labor Programs division to enable field office employees to check for compliance as part of their normal interaction with businesses.
“By effectively using our resources and working with businesses to bring them into compliance, we can create an environment that will benefit all employers doing business in Louisiana,” Broadwater said.
The overarching goal of the initiative is compliance. Employers who fail to come into compliance will initially be fined up to $250 per employee per incident. Employers who continue to violate or intentionally violate these provisions may face larger fines, an injunction from conducting business in the state or the possibility of jail.
"Entities that intentionally cheat and mislead in order to gain a premium or cost advantage only pass their cost on to other legitimate businesses and the Louisiana taxpayer," Caldwell said. "As part of our cooperative endeavor with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, our office will work to identify and hold accountable those select few entities that commit blatant acts of workers’ compensation fraud."
Business owners who are not providing the required workers’ compensation coverage, or who have questions about the requirements, are asked to call the Office of Workers’ Compensation Finance and Compliance Division at 225-342-5658 or the Fraud Division at 225-342-2226.
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