In New York, employees and employers might engage in a disagreement as to how the relationship is classified. Being categorized as an employee vs. an independent contractor can play a significant role in many aspects including wages and employee protections.
Employees are granted certain rights under the law regarding what they are paid, supervision, hours they work and more. A contractor is not subject to these constraints. Keys in determining whether there is an employer-employee relationship include how the person is compensated and the services they perform. Assessing these factors is imperative to defining the relationship.
Worker status can hinge on compensation and services
A worker who is wondering whether they are an employee or not should look at how they are paid. In general, if a person is paid hourly, gets a salary or works on commissions, they are an employee. There can also be other benefits such as being repaid for expenses they paid out of pocket.
An independent contractor would be paid for the work they do, but is not expected to receive these forms of payment. For example, if a person is hired to paint an office and they have their own painting business, they are getting paid a flat rate for the work they are doing. That person is not an employee. If a maintenance worker is asked to paint and they are drawing a regular salary, they are an employee.
The classification can be based on how much control the employer has over the work the person is doing. When important parts of the services the worker is performing are under the control of the employer, they are likely an employee.
Misclassified workers can be deprived of their rights
Many workers are unaware of whether they are employees or independent contractors and do not receive fair treatment because of it. They could lose out on income and benefits they would otherwise be entitled to if they were accurately classified.
Employers who misclassify workers and do not grant them the rights and benefits they are supposed to get should be held accountable. That can include getting payment that is owed, receiving overtime wages and being compensated for items they purchased for the work.
In many instances, people who are questioning their status are fearful of facing consequences for speaking out. They need to be apprised of their rights and know what can be done to ensure they are treated properly according to the law and classification of employees.