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Common Mistakes Misclassifying Independent Contractors And Employees


Employers have certain obligations to employees that they do not have to independent contractors. Likewise employees have certain rights when it comes to employment that 1099 independent contractors do not have. While both independent contractors and employees perform work for an employer, their relationships to the employer are quite different. The biggest difference for employees and independent contractors is that hourly employees are entitled to overtime wages (or “time and one-half”) for any hours worked over 40 hours in a work week.

Employers must properly classify workers as either employees or independent contractors. Yet sometimes, either intentionally or unintentionally, an employer will misclassify a worker as an independent contractor when that worker is in fact an employee.

If you believe you have been denied overtime wages because of a misclassification, it is important to seek advice from a Columbus wage and hour lawyer who can assist you. In the meantime, the following are some of the most common mistakes that employers make that result in misclassifications. If one of these circumstances looks like it might be applicable to your circumstances, you should get in touch with our firm to learn more about your options.

Classifying Workers as Independent Contractors Because They Have Signed an Independent Contractor Agreement 

Having a worker sign an independent contractor agreement does not have much bearing at all on whether that worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. Instead, employers in Columbus must look to factors outlined by the Ohio Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit, as well as by the U.S. Department of Labor, in determining whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. Employers must consider the “totality of the circumstances” test and apply the “economic realities” test to make a determination about whether a worker is entitled to wage and hour protections as an employee.

Failing to Consider Many Elements of the Worker’s Relationship to the Business 

Employers often make the mistake of looking at only one aspect of the employer-worker relationship, when a wide range of aspects of the worker’s relationship to the employer must be considered.

Assuming Work-from-Home Workers Are Always Independent Contractors 

The pandemic resulted in many workers doing jobs from home that they might otherwise have completed in other places, and those experiences have shifted much office work to having a remote option. Traditionally, many workers who performed their jobs from home (or from a location of the worker’s choosing) were independent contractors, although certainly not always. An employer should never assume that, just because a worker is doing their job remotely or from home, the worker is an independent contractor who is not entitled to certain benefits, rights, or privileges of employee classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In fact, the location of a person’s work is not typically a consideration in determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.

Contact Our Columbus Employment Classification Attorneys Today 

If you have concerns about your classification as a worker, and if you believe you may have been compensated unfairly as a result of a misclassification, it is important to get in touch with a Columbus wage and hour attorney who can assess your case and provide you with more information. Contact Brian G. Miller CO., L.P.A. today.



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