Many employers will claim that you cannot sue them or make a claim against them because you are an independent contractor as opposed to an employee. While it is true that independent contractors do not always have the same rights as employees the determination of whether or not you are an independent contractor is not a decision of your employer but the nature of your job. Calling you an independent contractor or paying you as an independent contractor does not necessarily make you an independent contractor. Whether you are an independent contractor usually depends on the control over the details of your work that your employer has. Every case is unique and every fact specific and you should seek legal advice from a competent employment lawyer regarding this issue.
Common Myths About Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors
Misclassification of employees as independent contractors is actually a pretty common occurrence in the workplace. This can prevent these employees from obtaining benefits, like overtime pay and compensation for work injuries. Here are some myths that you shouldn’t believe.
- Not Getting a Paycheck: If you do not receive a regular paycheck at your job, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are an independent contractor. There are several factors that can make you be considered an employee, such as the employer’s right to dictate when and where the job tasks are performed
- Signing a Contract: At some workplaces, employers may require workers to sign a contract that states they are independent contractors. However, even if you signed this agreement, it does not automatically mean you are a contractor.
- Completing Your Work at Home: Just because you work from home, does not mean you are an independent contractor. These days, many companies allow their employees to work from home at least part-time if it is possible to complete their tasks at home.
- Receiving a 1099 Form: If your employer gave you a 1099 for your taxes instead of a W-2, you may assume that you are a contractor. However, it is possible that your employer may have given you the incorrect form.
- Using the Same Contractors Over and Over: Some companies use independent contractors on a long-term basis to save money. However, this usually is not ethical and can be a red flag for the EEOC. If a contractor performs work for the same company for a long time, he or she is contributing a lot to a business and should be considered an employee.
- Contractors Can’t Sue for Injuries: It’s true the independent contractors are not covered under a company’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, that doesn’t mean that contractors can’t file their own personal injury lawsuits if they get injured at work. If companies were negligent in keeping their premises safe, they could still be held legally responsible.
Getting Legal Assistance
If you believe your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor and you were injured on the job, you should get in touch with an employment lawyer. He or she will review your case and determine if your employer acted illegally or not. An experienced lawyer can help you gather evidence and be on your side every step of this stressful process.