Tag Archives: independent contractors

Are You an Independent Contractor or an Employee?

With the increasing amount of job opportunities to fit your lifestyle, time, and experience, it’s not very surprising to see companies like Uber and Homejoy popping up all over the country. Enterprises like these offer positions for people looking to work for themselves and make their own schedules. If you have yet to hear a radio advertisement for Uber, they are a service providing drivers with people who need rides in the area. The driver just has to open the application on their mobile device and can start making money by giving rides to those who need one. Drivers use their own vehicle and sign up with the company whenever they feel like opening their application. The fares are generally predetermined through the application, and both the driver and the rider know exactly how much it will be after the start and end locations are determined.

Although it may seem like a perfect opportunity to make extra money after a normal 9 to 5 position, there are problems that derive from this method of operation. Many of these companies classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. For some, using an independent contractor may be beneficial, especially if the work done is completely self-produced. For example, many freelance workers contribute their work, writings, services, photos, etc. to a company without any required training from the enterprise itself. A freelance photographer may work with a newspaper contributing photos, but they received no training from the business. In this type of situation, their work is not guaranteed every week; their pay is determined by the work they complete, usually not for the hours they work.

Some of these new start-ups try to pass off their workers as these independent contractors to avoid the responsibilities of having employees, thus saving on labor costs.  Where the problems begin is when their workers require training and accountability from the company. Instead of offering third party services, which give contractors authority over their work, these enterprises control their workers by the tools used and the expectations of their behavior while working. It’s this control that really differentiates between an independent contractor and an employee. Any type of training, use of an application, or another method to tell workers how to do their jobs is a staple in determining whether employee or independent contractor is an accurate title. Businesses with employees are subject to certain laws regarding payment, taxes, and even insurance. Employees are eligible to receive certain benefits from the company they work for. Independent contractors are rarely subject to those types of things because they are free to work for themselves or other businesses providing the same work.

Companies like Uber and Homejoy are facing lawsuits all over the country because of this problem and courts are ruling against them. If you are working for an enterprise that classifies you as an independent contractor but holds you accountable for a standard of work that actually classifies you as an employee of the company, you may have a case. Attorney Steven Fox has the experience to help you fight for your rights. To see if you may qualify for a case against an unjust company for similar reasons, call today for a consultation at (732) 422-1000.