Protecting Workers from Misclassification of EmploymentJuly 16, 2019
In today’s economy, more companies are using freelancers, or independent contractors, to save money. Because these individuals are not technically employees, they are not eligible to receive health insurance, Workers’ Compensation benefits, or unemployment insurance. When both the employer and the independent contractor are open and honest about their employment status, there is no confusion or misunderstanding about the benefits that they are eligible to receive. However, if the employer intentionally misclassifies a full-time employee as an independent contractor, it can have serious financial implications for the employee, particularly if they suffer a serious workplace injury. If your employment status was misclassified, an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer will protect your rights and ensure that you receive the full benefits you deserve.
Employee versus Independent Contractor
Since so many companies are using independent contractors to cut costs, it is important to understand the key differences, particularly if you are in the process of looking for a new job, or you are unsure about your employment status. The following are some of the main differences:
- Employers dictate the employee’s schedule and place of employment
- All the tools necessary to complete the job are provided by the employer
- The employer establishes all workplace policies and supervises the work environment
- The employer sets a dress code and provides uniforms, if they are required
- Set their own schedule
- Do not need to follow a dress code
- Must supply any tools or equipment necessary to complete the job
- Compensated on a job-by-job basis
- Can accept or turn down a job based on whether the environment meets their specific needs
When an employer knowingly misclassifies an employee as an independent contractor, it is usually for financial reasons. Hiring independent contractors versus full-time employees means that the employer does not need to pay benefits. They can also avoid paying certain types of employment taxes and other labor costs, such as social security and unemployment insurance. In addition, they do not follow equal employment opportunity regulations when hiring independent contractors. It is highly recommended that employees confirm their employment status by obtaining written confirmation from their employer. This can help avoid costly expenses if injured on the job.
If you are working as an independent contractor, your employer is required to obtain certain documents in the event of an audit by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, including the following:
- Certificate of Insurance for General Liability Coverage
- Certificate of Insurance for Workers’ Compensation, if the independent contractor has Workers’ Compensation insurance
- Copy of the independent contractor’s business license
- Sole Proprietor’s Status as a Covered Employee form that has the required signatures
- Written subcontract for each job the worker completes
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Misclassified Workers
If your employment status has been misclassified by your employer, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits you deserve. Our dedicated team will not stop fighting for you until we have your complete satisfaction. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.