Edison Misclassified Workers Attorney
Not all workers are employees. As of May 2017, independent contractors – often known as “freelancers” in certain fields – comprised close to 7 percent of the American workforce. Independent contractors are not entitled to the benefits most employees are entitled to receive, like overtime pay, healthcare benefits, unpaid time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Workers’ Compensation. Because of this, it can be quite cost-effective for an employer to hire independent contractors instead of employees.
But working only with independent contractors is not practical for many employers. Some attempt to save money on employee benefits by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
Who is an Employee?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines an independent contractor as a worker who sets his or her own work hours and maintains total control over how he or she performs work for clients. An employee, on the other hand, is subject to a work schedule and may be required by an employer to perform work in a specific way.
To determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor, the IRS considers the following:
- The worker’s relationship with the employer. Is the relationship expected to continue indefinitely, or is there a specific work period written into a contract? Is the work a key aspect of the employer’s business;
- The employer’s right to control the worker’s behavior; and
- The financial aspects of the work. Independent contractors typically use their own equipment, rather than work equipment supplied by the employer. Similarly, independent contractors handle their own billing and tax withholding.
What are the Differences Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor?
In addition to the differences discussed above, the primary difference between an employee and an independent contractor is the amount of rights an employee has. An independent contractor is not entitled to paid time off, Workers’ Compensation, overtime pay, or the right to file a discrimination or retaliation claim. When an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, he or she is being denied these rights.
Why you Need to Assert your Status as an Employee
If you are injured on the job and you are not classified as an employee, you cannot file a Workers’ Compensation claim. You also cannot take unpaid time off under FMLA to focus on recovering. Being denied these benefits can be very expensive for you.
An experienced employment lawyer can help you get yourself classified properly with your employer so you are not denied benefits you are entitled to receive.
Work with an Experienced New Jersey Employment Lawyer
At the Sattiraju Law Firm, P.C., we are proud to call our team one of New York and New Jersey’s premier employment law firms. We have substantial experience representing misclassified workers, including a recent $2.8 million class action settlement for a group of truck drivers who had been misclassified as independent contractors. To schedule your initial legal consultation with the employment lawyers at our firm, contact our office to set up your appointment.