What to do if someone hired under the table claims he was injured?

I am an independent contractor, running a LLC without any employees. I do work myself. I have an issue with a guy who was asking me for work to support his family about 5 months ago. He worked for me for 5 days and was paid $550 cash as soon as the job was done. He knew that he was with me for the length of the job and I did not intend to hire him. Besides text messages, I have no record of him working for me. Now he sends me a text message stating he was injured on the job and intending to file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industry. What is the best way to handle it?

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You get an attorney--now; that's what you do. You are in violation of several different laws, and hence in a precarious position.

First, there is NO law that let's you pay someone under the table: if youd did not withhold, you have violated tax laws.

Second, with an "under the table" employee who was not in the system, you may not be protected by worker's compensation for  an on-the-job injury; you would not have been paying for worker's compensation for him.

Third, if he elects to sue you, you'll have to defend yourself from liability (since you most likely, as above, dont' have recourse to worker's compensation).

The situation is potentially more complex and serious than you'd think for a $550, one week employee; you should get legal assistance.

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