And What to Do About It

Employee, or contract worker? Which label your employer uses for you has big consequences—for them and you.

As an independent contractor, you’re not entitled to the same rights and benefits as an employee, and your employer can shift more of their costs onto you.

Being an independent contractor comes with benefits of its own, of course—such as having the freedom to set your own hours and terms, and working for several employers as opposed to one. Many people prefer this way of working.

But it usually costs less for employers to categorize their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And sometimes salaried employees get misclassified as contract workers. This deprives you of certain rights and benefits, and it’s also illegal.

Here are a few signs your employer is misclassifying you as a contract worker—when you’re actually an employee.

1. Your employer determines your work hours, location, and how you do your job

This varies depending on the worker. Some independent contractors—those in construction, for instance—have to show up at an employer’s location to do their jobs.

However, most independent contractors have more control over when and how they work than an employee does. If you show up at your employer’s office every day, you work on their schedule, they determine how you do your job—and they’re calling you an independent contractor, you may be misclassified.

2. Your employment terms are ongoing

Most independent contractors are hired to do a specific job on a temporary basis. Whereas employees are hired full-time and indefinitely, for as long as the work relationship lasts on an at-will basis.

If you’ve been hired on an indefinite basis rather than for a specific job with an end date, you may be an employee rather than a contract worker.

3. Your employer provides all the equipment

Many independent contractors bring their own tools and supplies to the work site. If your employer provides you with everything you need to do your job, you may actually be an employee rather than a contract worker.

4. You don’t invoice your employer

Most independent contractors send their clients an invoice to get paid. If you just get a regular monthly paycheck, without sending an invoice to your employer, it’s possible you’re being misclassified.

5. You only work for one company

Not all independent contractors have a rotating roster of clients, but many do. If you only work for one company, it’s possible you’re being misclassified.

6. Your job is indistinguishable from that of full-time workers

Look around at your workplace. Are there other workers classified as employees who are doing the same job you’re doing? If there’s nothing different about your job description or the conditions under which you work, it’s quite possible you’re being misclassified.

Every industry is different. Some legitimate independent contractors may work under some of the conditions above. But if your employer is calling you an independent contractor and many of these items describe you, it may be time to talk to a lawyer.

Talk to a Philadelphia Employment Lawyer

An experienced lawyer can help you determine whether you’re being misclassified—and develop a strategy to make sure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to.

If you think you’re being misclassified as a contract worker, we can help. Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at murphy@phillyemploymentlawyer.com for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.