W-2 or 1099? Misclassifying workers ‘is a problem’

Workforce development has been a major focus during the Great Resignation, as HR leaders struggle to find qualified talent in an extremely tight labor market. Thus, the onus has been on companies to train and nurture their current employees for leadership roles, rather emphasizing promotions rather than costly recruiting and onboarding. Liberty Mutual, for example, has invested in a robust set of learning opportunities in Cloud, Agile, cybersecurity, data and software engineering designed to meet individuals where they are. Meanwhile, Claro Enterprise Solutions, a technology services provider in Miramar, FL, has launched an emerging leaders program.

Read more: Liberty Mutual SVP: ‘There’s a war for talent’ despite layoffs

In 2021, Johnson began his current role as chief people and compliance officer at Chicago-based Bluecrew, a tech firm bringing an app-based solution to W-2 workers. Coincidentally, Bluecrew CEO Stephen Avalone worked as a general manager and director at Amazon during Johnson’s tenure. “A mutual acquaintance told me Steve was going to a new tech company intent on disrupting the staffing industry,” Johnson says. “They were building a tech platform that would provide workforce-as-a-service to companies, as well as empower workers and match them to flexible jobs.”

As the gig economy continues to boom, employers are faced with increasing concern surrounding safety and compliance, especially regarding classifying W-2 employees versus 1099 independent contractors. According to Johnson, these companies often fail to adequately assess whether a worker is appropriately classified as a non-employee, opening them up to fines and legal ramifications.

“As tech marketsplaces have continued to proliferate, the opportunity to misclassify workers in the interest of expediency has been recognized as a problem,” Johnson says. “Bluecrew is hoping to change that by building a platform that takes marketplace principles and flexibility and transforms that into transparency and potential. Also, anybody that a workplace receives through Bluecrew is a W-2 employee with appropriate protections and a vetted background check background, managed in compliant manner.”


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