The news team at WFAA Television in Dallas/Fort Worth has done an oustanding job of highlighting the problem of worker misclassification. In their latest installment, reporter Byron Harris focuses on the story of Belen Valasquez:
"He has a vague memory of the construction fall that paralyzed him.
"I think I fell with my head doubled over," he said in Spanish. "I felt like I couldn't breathe. I got the wind knocked out of me."
Velasquez faces a lifetime of medical care that could total more than $11 million. He is now a tetrapelgic: He can't move his legs, and can barely move his arms.
While he is the victim of a catastrophic fall suffered while building a home, he is also the victim of what critics call payroll fraud.
"Payroll fraud is a strange term to most folks," explained Christina Tzintzun of the Workers Defense Project. "But what it really means is that employers are getting out of paying taxes for their workers and stripping them of their rights."
Please take a few minutes to watch the video report from Byron Harris below: