From freelance writers to web designers to podcast editors and social media consultants, the internet has given rise to a great decentralization of employment. However, just because you aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean you aren’t an employee.
The Federal Labor Standards Act makes strong distinctions between contractors and employees. These distinctions are necessary because some employers intentionally misclassify employees to avoid paying certain benefits. However, for anyone who is a contractor or works with contractors, it is important to understand where the line is.
The essential questions of employment
If you are wondering about whether your relationship with your largest customer makes you an employee or not, here are the seven points to consider:
- Permanency: Is your current relationship with your customer ongoing and can you always expect them to need your services and vice versa?
- Exclusiveness: Does your customer make up the total amount of work that you do?
- Equipment: Did the customer you work for give you equipment and space for you to work or did you provide that yourself?
- Control: Do you have control of how you carry out your tasks or are you required to follow rules set down by your customer?
- Profit and loss: If the business you work for does poorly how much does that affect your bottom line? Can a slow month for your employer devastate you or is it a blip in your radar?
- Open market consideration: How often do you have to worry about selling your services on an open market? Does that affect your income?
- Independence: Can you say no?
Depending on your answers to these questions, it’s possible that you are working in an employer/employee relationship without realizing it.
A mistake or something more?
Misclassification can be a simple oversight or it can be an insidious attempt to undercut your rightful compensation. Consider contacting an employment law attorney to find out more about your situation.