With so many changes happening on the job front these days, companies are trying to forge a new relationship with their workers. It is called the “independent contractor” status. That is where the employer pays you an hourly “wage” for services rendered – and you pay your own taxes and absorb the responsibilities of working independently including any injuries you may sustain while employed.
Work that used to be handled by part-time or full-time employees is now being shifted to this “contractor” status. In this way, business owners believe they have found a way to get away without providing benefits to workers and causing them to lose their job security.
This “contractor” status has become a shift to contingent employment. It’s becoming more popular all over the country, especially now, and it’s a term that describes any form of employment outside the typical payroll job with a steady paycheck. Whether it’s contract workers, jobs with strange hours, part time jobs, or temps, working in this capacity reduces worker benefits and protections, exposing these employees to risk.
The problem is that there are very specific guidelines for employees to be considered “true” independent contractors. People such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business, or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors. However, whether these people are independent contractors or employees depends on the facts in each case. The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.
You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer, that is, what will be done and how it will be done. This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.
If an employer-employee relationship exists, regardless of what the relationship is called, you are not an independent contractor.
Although hiring employees these days as “independent contractors” may help you in terms of hiring strategies and keeping expenses under control, be wary that a “contractor” can be deemed to be an employee if a claim is filed and the “contractor” arrangement comes under scrutiny. If you hire a “contractor” be sure that they check all the boxes of being an actual “contractor.” This will help you avoid liability, and all the hidden expenses that come with this in the event a contractor is deemed to actually be an employee.
If you are dealing with a stressful personal situation and need legal representation in the Miami-Dade and Broward County areas, the legal team at Saenz & Anderson is here to help. We handle a variety of legal issues, including but not limited to:
- Wage-and-hour disputes, including minimum wage and overtime;
- Wrongful termination;
- Discrimination based on age, race, gender, nationality, disability and other protected characteristics;
- Workers’ Compensation retaliation;
- Whistleblower and related issues; and
- Employment contract disputes and litigation, including breach of contract, employment-at-will issues, severance packages, non-compete issues, confidentiality agreements.
If you feel that you are not being treated fairly and you are unable to rectify your situation on your own, give us a call today. We will sit down with you and go over the details of your potential case and help you determine what your options are. Once you have settled on a course of action, we will help you navigate the waters to help you get a fair outcome.
Saenz & Anderson is a litigation firm specializing in Labor and Employment Law. If you have questions or an issue, please call our office for a consultation at 1-305-503-5131.