Whether you are legally classified as an employee or independent contractor will substantially impact how much you are paid. Employees enjoy a variety of protections under state and federal laws, but employers will sometimes deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors to circumvent overtime pay, minimum wage requirements, and other mandatory benefits.
These designations are not arbitrary: Employees and independent contractors have specific legal definitions that must be honored. If your employer has labeled you an independent contractor, it is in your best interest to verify that you have been appropriately classified. Below, we review 5 signs that suggest your employer may be misclassifying you as an independent contractor.
Sign #1: You Exclusively Work for Your Employer
Independent contractors have the freedom to take on multiple clients. While you may choose to only work for one company as an independent contractor, many contractors take advantage of their classification’s flexibility and simultaneously service several clients at any given time. If your employer expects you to work only for them, they may be misclassifying you. This is especially true if they make you sign a contract that forbids you from doing work for other employers.
Sign #2: You Are Working for Your Employer Indefinitely
Independent contractors are generally hired to complete a specific task or to provide their services for a set period of time. An independent contractor’s working relationship generally ends when the specific job is completed or when the contracted period concludes. If your working relationship with your employer appears to be indefinite, they may be misclassifying you as an independent contractor. Be extra wary if you do not submit invoices and instead receive regular paychecks.
Sign #3: Your Employer Provides Your Work Equipment
In most cases, an independent contractor will have their own tools that they bring to the worksite. This includes computers and cell phones. There may be cause for concern if your employer issues you a company computer, work phone, or other tools of the trade.
Sign #4: Your Employer Tells You What to Do
As an independent contractor, you are your own boss. As a general rule, you get to decide when, where, and how you do your work. Some types of work will require independent contractors to travel to an employee’s location at prescribed times. For example, a repairman might be summoned on a case-by-case basis to fix broken machinery at a company’s office building. However, your employer may be misclassifying you if you are being asked to work regular hours at a specific location that is not essential to the type of work you do. Your employer should also not be telling you how to do your job.
Sign #5: You Are Doing the Same Work as Other Employees
Independent contractors are hired to perform specific, temporary jobs that require specialized skills. If you are considered an independent contractor but appear to have the same job responsibilities as the employees in your workplace, you may be a victim of misclassification. Consider whether your employer exercises the same level of oversight over you versus other employees. If you have more or less the same level of control in doing the same work, your employer may be misclassifying you.
Are You Worried You Have Been Misclassified? Polaris Law Group Can Help.
If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you are likely also a victim of wage theft. Attorney Bill Marder has over 25 years of experience handling matters of employment law and can provide the diligent representation you need to resolve these issues. When you choose to retain his representation, he will review your circumstances and determine whether you have been unlawfully misclassified as an independent contractor. If misclassification has occurred, he will identify all forms of compensation and benefits that have been withheld and review your legal options for holding your employer accountable.
Do not wait to address potential misclassification issues. Reach out to our firm today by calling (888) 796-4010 or contacting us online.