Don’t Let Yourself be Misclassified as an Independent Contractor
With certain very limited exceptions, almost all businesses are supposed to provide workers’ compensation benefits for their employees; however, many employers try to avoid paying workers’ compensation premiums by fraudulently classifying their employees as independent contractors, who, by statute, are not covered.
Employers Try to Dodge the Workers’ Compensation Statute
Pity the worker injured on the job, and benefits are being denied to you either because 1. You are classified as an independent contractor, thus not an employee, or 2. Because your employer has classified the workers as independent contractors, thus avoiding the purchased workers’ compensation insurance. So, who is an employee vs. an independent contractor?
Florida Statute 440.02(a-d) defines who is and is not an employee and, specifically, under Florida Statute 440.02(15(d), which defines the criteria under which a worker may be classified as an independent contractor.
The Fundamental Difference Between Independent Contractors and Employees
Employers generally have a measure of control and authority over employees that they do not have over independent contractors. For example, an employer can tell an employee how to do his or her job, when to do it, and where to do it. Similarly, an employer will usually evaluate all aspects of an employee’s performance on a regular basis, whereas an independent contractor is usually only evaluated on the nature and quality of the finished product or job performed.
Schedules are usually set and somewhat rigid with employees, whereas a, independent contractor can generally do a job at the independent contractor’s convenience and an independent contractor usually does not have a set schedule with set work hours.
Many jobs may require tools or equipment. An independent contractor usually comes with and provides his or her own equipment, whereas an employer, generally, provides an employee with the tools needed to do the job.
The same goes with training—although both independent contractors and employees may need some degree of training, as a general rule, independent contractors come to a job with the knowledge, skill, and training necessary to perform the job. Employers do not ordinarily hire an independent contractor to do a job that has to be trained. Thus, the more training involved, the more likely the worker is an employee.
Payment schedules also can be telling. An employee expects to be paid periodically and regularly. An independent contractor is, typically, paid sporadically and upon completion of the job. Employees also don’t have to pay expenses related to the job out of their own pocket, whereas independent contractors do.
You Are What the Law Says You Are; Not What Your Employer Calls You
If you are injured on the job and your employer tries to deny you workers’ compensation benefits asserting that you are an independent contractor, you must immediately contact a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to determine your rights.
Call the West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorneys at the Celeste Law Firm today for answers to your questions if you have been injured on the job or you are being denied workers’ compensation benefits.