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An Overview of Independent Contractor Misclassification

A group of workers in a meeting

Correcting a Major Error

For those employed in the workforce, there is a high likelihood that at one point or another, you may have found yourself wondering if you are being misclassified as an independent contractor. Misclassification cannot be taken lightly; it's critically important to understand its impact on an individual. This blog will provide a comprehensive overview of what independent contractor misclassification means, why addressing such matters should not be overlooked or neglected, factors determining how someone should be classified, and what actions you can take if your employer has misclassified you.

Two Major Types of Misclassification

Misclassification is a widespread problem that affects workers across all industries. It is important to note that there are two major types of misclassification - independent contractor and exempt employee classifications:

  1. Independent contractors are often wrongly classified as contractors and denied overtime pay when they should be considered employees and paid overtime pay.

  2. Exempt employees, on the other hand, are categorized as employees, but their duties make them eligible for overtime pay.

These misclassifications can lead to various negative consequences, such as loss of benefits, underpayment, and the risk of legal action. As such, workers must be aware of these classifications and their implications to avoid any possible detrimental outcome.

What is Independent Contractor Misclassification and Why Does it Matter

Independent contracting is becoming increasingly popular in the workforce. However, as more and more companies turn to independent contractors, the issue of misclassification has become a growing concern. Independent contractor misclassification refers to labeling workers as independent contractors even though they meet an employee's qualifications.

This practice matters because it can result in employees being denied essential benefits and protections, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and workers' compensation. Additionally, if a company is found to have misclassified workers, it may face legal consequences and financial penalties.

Identifying Signs of Independent Contractor Misclassification

Identifying signs of independent contractor misclassification is crucial for protecting workers. Independent contractors do not have the same protections as employees, and companies must avoid misclassifying employees as independent contractors. Some signs of misclassification can include:

  • Workers not controlling their work hours or schedule;

  • Workers not controlling their rate of pay;

  • Workers not controlling how they are paid (e.g., salary, hourly, day rate, etc.)

  • Workers not being autonomous or deciding how they perform their primary work responsibilities; and

  • Workers’ services being essential to a company’s profit and/or business operations.

It is crucial for workers to carefully review the signs of misclassification to determine whether or not their company has correctly classified them.

How to Proactively Address Misclassification as a Worker

Misclassification as a worker can be a common problem, but being proactive can help prevent the issue altogether. If you need clarification on your classification, review your job duties and responsibilities to see if they align with your classification status. Don't be afraid to ask questions or seek guidance from an HR professional or legal expert. Proactively addressing early concerns can save you from legal and financial consequences. Remember, your career and financial stability are worth ensuring you're correctly classified as a worker.

Understanding Your Rights as an Employee in the Case of Misclassification

As an employee, it's essential to understand your rights in case of misclassification. Misclassification occurs when an employer classifies you as (1) a contractor instead of an employee to deny you minimum wage, overtime pay, and/or healthcare benefits; or (2) an exempt employee to deny you overtime pay. This can be confusing, and knowing what to do in such a situation is important.

Understanding your rights means knowing what constitutes misclassification, how to report it, and the legal consequences for the employer. It also means knowing who to turn to for help. By being proactive and informed, you can protect your rights and receive the benefits you're entitled to.

Contact the Lawyers for the Workers®

Misclassification is a real problem costing thousands of workers money they are rightfully entitled to in wages every year. Given the critical nature of the issue, workers need to understand what misclassification is and how to recognize the signs of it taking place. By understanding your rights as an employee (even if misclassified) and how to proactively address the issue, you can help protect yourself and your coworkers from unfair pay.

Unpaid wages should never be taken lightly; if you feel you have suffered misclassification or wage withholding, it pays to take action now! For help seeking unpaid wages, turn to the lawyers for the workers at Josephson Dunlap.


Take action to reclaim your unpaid wages today by calling (888) 742-7242 or visiting our website.

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