New York has two categories of workers: employees and independent contractors. Compared to independent contractors, employees have a broader range of rights, benefits and protections. To cut costs, some employers intentionally misclassify employees, thereby depriving them of their rightful benefits.
If your contract states that you are an independent contractor, yet your employer manages you similarly to a regular employee without providing benefits, it could be a sign of misclassification. Here are additional signs to look out for:
1. Your employer expects you to devote your full time and energy to them.
Independent contractors essentially manage their own businesses, affording them the flexibility to work on multiple projects and clients at the same time. Employers cannot expect their exclusive, full-time commitment.
If your contract prohibits you from working for other employers, it could be an indication that your employer is misclassifying you.
2. Your employer determines your work schedule and location.
Independent contractors are not bound by the same restrictions as employees. They are free to set their own schedule and determine how much time they want to spend on a client.
Meanwhile, employees must abide by company policies. Employers have control over an employee’s duties, schedule and place of work. If your employer requires you to work within their schedule and report to work regularly, you may have been misclassified.
3. Your duties are comparable to those of a regular employee.
Rather than invest time in training an employee to acquire new skills, employers hire an independent contractor who has specialized expertise to finish projects or tasks.
If you find yourself performing the same duties and bearing the same responsibilities as the employer’s regular employees, you might be a victim of misclassification.
4. You receive regular pay.
Independent contractors are not on the company payroll and send an invoice to clients when the project is done. If you are an independent contractor, you should not be receiving regular paychecks without sending an invoice to your employer.
5. The duration of your employment is indefinite.
Independent contractors work only until the completion of the project. If you’ve been working for the same organization for more than a year without a specific due date, you may be misclassified.
The more your employer supervises you and your work, the greater the chance that you should be an employee. However, this is not always the case. Certain independent contractor roles and projects may require similar work arrangements. Being knowledgeable about worker classifications and rights could keep you free from exploitation.