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What does employee misclassification look like?

| Aug 5, 2020 | Firm News |

When your employer hired you in your current role, they may have designated you as an independent contractor. You might like working on a contract basis, since you may have freedoms and flexibility that full-time employees do not. Yet, your employer may treat you like a full-time employee but without providing you the same benefits. In this case, they may have misclassified you, whether by accident or on purpose.

Understanding the differences

To qualify as an independent contractor, you must maintain a certain level of control over your work. Your employer will determine the projects you work on and set your contract’s length. But you will discharge your duties in the way you see fit. If you set your own schedule, use your own equipment and work where you want to, then your classification as an independent contractor is likely correct.

Yet, your employer may control most facets of your performance. And you may notice that they treat you no differently than their full-time employees. In this case, your employer may have misclassified you. Some signs you may be an employee instead of an independent contractor include:

  • Your contract is ongoing or open-ended
  • Your employer provides you equipment to complete your work with
  • Your employer provides you training for your role
  • Your employer requires you to work certain hours or in a certain location
  • You cannot pursue business opportunities outside your role

Correcting your classification

You will want to talk with your employer about your status if they misclassified you as an independent contractor. They may have made an honest mistake. Yet, many employers deliberately misclassify workers to avoid paying benefits and payroll taxes. In this case, you may want to file Form SS-8 through the IRS. This form will determine your status for purposes of tax classification. The agency will rule whether you are an employee or independent contractor based on the facts you provide on the form. Regardless, you may want to litigate your status dispute, especially if your misclassification has caused you significant financial loss.

Correcting your employment status can be difficult to do alone. An attorney with employment law experience can help you work to achieve the correct status and the benefits that come with it.