Look Beyond the Agreement for Independent Contractor Status
When you embark on a new professional opportunity with a company in Florida, you might be asked to sign a contract that covers the details of your relationship. Written agreements are effective in establishing the arrangement between the parties, but you may be concerned when the document states that you are an independent contractor instead of an employee. Your understanding was that you would be a true employee, which entitles you to the protections and remedies offered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related employment laws.
In such a situation, the question is whether the agreement dictates the relationship between you and the company to which you provide services. Fortunately, employment laws provide protection when employers seek to label you as an independent contractor for their own gain. A Florida employment contracts attorney will support you in a case of worker misclassification, but some background on employee versus independent contractor status in employment agreements is helpful.
Label v. Reality: When evaluating a person’s status under employment laws, the relationship between the parties is not limited to what the contract says. A company could easily shirk its legal responsibilities by labeling an individual as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The organization would avoid significant costs and taxes, instead putting this money in its own pocket.
To avoid this situation, employment laws require review of the reality of the relationship and surrounding circumstances. If the situation points to a person being either an independent contractor or a true employee, the contract does not stand as proof.
Factors to Assess Employment Status: In general, the assessment of whether a person is an employee or independent contractor is about control over the work. When the company maintains significant control over the relationship, it is likely that the individual will be deemed an employee. Factors include:
- Who sets hours and dates for the work schedule;
- Where the work is performed;
- Whether the work is paid hourly or by project;
- Who dictates the details of the job tasks; and,
- Whether the company follows progress of the project or is only interested in the final product.
Impact on Your Rights: You miss out on significant opportunities when listed as an independent contractor in an agreement, so your rights are violated if you are actually an employee. If you are injured on-the-job, you are not covered by workers’ compensation laws. You cannot participate in or enjoy employee perks, including health insurance and benefits packages. Plus, a company is not required to pay overtime to an independent contractor.
Talk to a Palm Beach County Employment Lawyer About Contractual Matters
You have rights as an employee, even if your employer attempts to deprive you of them by misclassifying you as an independent contractor. To learn more about your legal remedies, please contact Sconzo Law Office to speak to a member of our team. You can reach our location in Palm Beach Gardens by calling 561-279-6114 or going online. We can schedule a no-cost case review to discuss details.