Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors Happens
Just because an employer calls you an “independent contractor” or “laborer” does not mean that you are one; you might actually be an “employee” who is entitled to overtime pay. So, you may be entitled to overtime wages for the time you worked after 40 hours. If so, you can recover your overtime pay, penalties, and attorneys’ fees from the offending employer.
I recently read a study that was conducted by the United States Government Accountability Office that contained some of observations and conclusions that I found personally to be both accurate and interesting. In the 2009 study, the most notable observation that I found was that, “employers have financial incentives to misclassify employees as independent contractors.” In my work at the FairLaw Firm, I see that employers would rather call someone an “independent contractor” or “laborer” than an employee to avoid not just the tax implications, but also to avoid paying people the overtime wages they work hard to earn.
That same study recognized that the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) was not actively targeting and investigating whether businesses were improperly misclassifying people as independent contractors when they were actually employees. Instead, the DOL waited to receive a complaint and then only conduced an investigation in response to a complaint by a worker.
According to an newsletter article by the ABA, employers who mischaracterize workers as independent contractors are subject to penalties. Misclassification can happen when the employer furnishes a uniform; the employer provides job materials (such as cleaning supplies or tools); you are told when to start and stop working; you are pays by the hour/day/week instead of by the project; and when you have nothing to lose except your time. These are but a few of the factors considered.
You do should not have to wait for the government to eventually get around to possibly investigating whether your employer has wrongfully considered you a contractor when you are actually an employee. Don’t. Instead, contact the FairLaw Firm so that we can gather the necessary information and then fight for those who have been denied the overtime pay and overtime wages they earned. Let the FairLaw Firm fight for your overtime and set the record straight.
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