Palm Beach Gardens Independent Contractor Attorney
State and federal labor laws draw a sharp distinction between workers classified as “employees” versus “independent contractors.” People in the latter group are not protected by laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. This often gives employers an incentive to try and classify employees as independent contractors when that is not justified by the scope and nature of their employment relationship.
If you suspect that you are the victim of misclassification, an experienced Palm Beach Gardens independent contractor attorney can help. At the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., we represent workers who seek proper recognition of their legal status as employees. Our team can help you recover back owed minimum wage and overtime benefits, among other damages, if you in fact have been misclassified.
How Does the Law Define “Independent Contractor”?
The question of how to separate employees from independent contractors has long been disputed in political and legal circles. There is in fact no single fixed definition of “independent contractor.” Instead, courts and government agencies tend to look at a number of factors when determining whether a particular worker is properly classified.
For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses a common-law rule that looks at the “degree of control and independence” that the worker has under three categories:
- Behavioral Control – Does the business have the right to direct and control what work is accomplished by the worker and how they must accomplish it?
- Financial Control – Does the business have the right to control the financial aspects of the worker’s job? For instance, if the worker is expected to pay for and bring their own tools to perform a job, they are more likely to be classified as an independent contractor.
- Relationship of the Parties – Is there a written agreement defining the nature of the employment relationship? Does the business provide employee-type benefits to the worker, such as health insurance. And are the services provided by the worker part of the company’s regular business?
Again, these tests are generally applied on a case-by-case basis. So even if, say, you have a written contract classifying you as an independent contractor, it is still possible for a court to find you were actually an employee based on assessment of all relevant factors.
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In practical terms, an employee is entitled to receive at least Florida’s minimum wage for every hour worked. This includes overtime pay for each hour worked over 40 in a given workweek. Employers are also responsible for withholding taxes from all employee pay as well as providing workers’ compensation insurance in the event a worker is injured on the job. Independent contractors, in contrast, are expected to take care of these things for themselves.
So you can see it is in your best interest not to be misclassified as an independent contractor. If you have additional questions or concerns and would like to speak with a Palm Beach Gardens independent contractor attorney, contact the Sconzo Law Office, P.A., today to schedule a complimentary consultation.