Mainstream media has recently focused a lot of attention on businesses that utilize independent contractors (think Uber, Lyft, or AirBnB). This has even gone so far as to lead some to speculate that traditional employment may be in jeopardy. While this is a significant exaggeration, the overuse of the independent contractor label is very real.
The use of independent contractors by businesses fits much better, or at least more cleanly, in some business models than others (see Uber’s particular, recent legal troubles for an example). The traditional use of independent contractors, often highly skilled or experienced professionals in a field that allows them to exercise their own judgment on how to best go about a particular project, will always have a welcome place in the business world.
However, the overall increase in use of independent contractors by businesses is likely to have at least some adverse consequences, both to certain businesses that use them and to the public as a whole. Shifting legal liability for mistakes in the performance of the work is one of those potentially adverse consequences to the public. For an employer, inappropriately categorizing employees as independent contractors can later cause major headaches and legal problems.
State and Federal labor and employment agencies are becoming more perceptive to the problem, and are being emboldened to take corrective action. Further, employees are much more prone to take action themselves. Finally, most governing law in this area contains hefty potential penalties for employers who incorrectly categorize workers and fail to provide adequate compensation or benefits.
If you are developing a business and need advice concerning employment decisions, including hiring contractors or additional employees, the attorneys at Wilson Law Group can help. Wilson Law Group has the experience and knowledge to guide you through complicated business planning issues, including how to designate workers.
Similarly, if you are an employee who has been wrongly classified as a contractor, contact Wilson Law Group for a free consultation to help determine a course of corrective action. The attorneys at Wilson Law Group can advise you concerning your rights and help you get back the benefits or wages you may have lost.