Employers are increasingly classifying workers as “independent contractors” rather than employees. When done incorrectly, these misclassified workers miss out on numerous protections for employees.
How work gets done has changed significantly over time. During COVID, jobs once thought to be impossible to do virtually are now done exclusively online. Some industries have ditched traditional employment structures in favor of “gig economy” arrangements that provide employees with some flexibility at the expense of longstanding employment protections. Other employers use the term “independent contractor” to refer to what are actually “employee” roles within a company.
When it comes to classifying a worker as an employee or independent contractor, the main issue that courts look to is who has the right to direct or control the process of the work being done. The more control an employer exerts over how their worker accomplishes their job, the more likely it is that the worker is legally considered an employee as opposed to an independent contractor.
Another important factor is whether the work done is integral to the employer’s business. For example, it makes sense for a grocery store to hire an “independent contractor” to fix their plumbing. The grocery store isn’t a plumbing company. But, it doesn’t make sense for the grocery store to classify a cashier as an “independent contractor.”
A good way to think about it is this: if you are running your own business and do some work for a company, you are probably an independent contractor. If you are essentially just working for a company, there is a good chance that you should be classified as an employee.
Independent contractors are not “employees” and therefore are not covered under most federal employment laws. Independent contractors do not have the same rights and legal protections as employees. Some employers try to classify employees as independent contractors to take advantage of loopholes in employee protection laws.
One of those protections is overtime pay. An employer might try to misclassify a worker to avoid paying overtime wages. In these situations, it’s important to have an employment lawyer to help defend your rights.
Simply calling someone an independent contractor does not make it so. If your employer has misclassified your position, you may not be receiving the benefits and rights you are entitled to under the law. Biller & Kimble, LLC can help you navigate your job classification and ensure that you’re being afforded your proper compensation and benefits.