Have you been misclassified as an Independent Contractor?
Employers can save as much as 30% in payroll costs by hiring independent contractors instead of full-time employees. A company hiring an independent contractor does not have to pay employment taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, unemployment insurance, or the employer’s share of FICA payroll taxes on the individual. Even more important to the worker, an independent contractor is not covered by the minimum wage and overtime rules which apply to employees.
When employers in Florida and Alabama misclassify their employees as independent contractors, whether through ignorance or in an attempt to work them harder and pay them less, the attorneys at the Law Office of J.J. Talbott P.A. in Pensacola step in and make sure employers pay their workers appropriately
When Is a Worker an Independent Contractor?
There actually is no one legal test that can be applied to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Generally speaking, an employee is economically dependent on the employer, while independent contractors are economically independent and in business for themselves. Another key factor to consider is that an employer can require employees to work and prevent them from working. If this situation sounds like your situation, you are probably an employee, regardless of what your employer says you are.
Supreme Court Factors
While there is no one test to determine independent contractor status, here are some factors the U.S Supreme Court tends to look at:
- Is the work performed an integral part of the business?
- Does the job require managerial skills?
- What are the relative investments in facilities and equipment made by the employer and the worker?
- What levels of skill and initiative are required to perform the work?
- Is the employment relationship only for a particular project or fixed period of time, or does it extend permanently or indefinitely?
- What is the nature and degree of control exercised? Who sets the pay amounts and work hours, who determines how the work is performed, and who determines whether the worker may work for others or hire helpers?
The IRS Test
Since the federal government loses a sizeable chunk of tax revenue each year due to misclassification of employees as independent contractors, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has naturally come up with a test to determine whether workers are properly classified. The IRS has a 20-factor, “right-to-control test” which looks at the degree of control which the employer exerts over the person performing the work; the greater the degree of control; the more likely the person is an employee and not an independent contractor. The IRS looks at the level of independence in three different areas: behavioral, financial, and the type of relationship. In the end, it is necessary to look at the entire relationship as a whole in deciding whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor.
Independent contractor status is a tricky area of the law. Not only are there numerous tests one can apply, but you can get a different answer depending upon what test you use and how you apply and interpret the factors. It is important to remember, however, that the actual reality of the situation is what matters, not some label in a written agreement between employer and worker. If you feel that you are being overworked or underpaid and misclassified as an independent contractor, contact the Law Office of J.J. Talbott in Pensacola for a free case review. We can help make sure you get the amount of wages you are owed.