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Classification of workers as employees vs. independent contractors

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Construction Litigation |

Determining whether to classify a worker as employees or independent contractors is crucial. Misclassification can lead to legal issues, including fines and back payments. Understanding the distinctions can prevent these problems, which will benefit businesses and workers.

Behavioral control

Behavioral control refers to the degree of instruction the employer gives workers. If the employer dictates how the worker completes their job, the worker is an employee. Employees often have to follow strict guidelines set by their employers. These include specific working hours, procedures, and required tools. 

Independent contractors typically have the freedom to decide how to complete their work. They often set their own hours or have more choice in the methods they use to get their work done. Independent contractors have the freedom to accept or reject certain work assignments. At their own discretion, they can work for multiple companies at a time.

Financial control

Financial control examines the business aspect of a worker’s job. Independent contractors usually have more financial independence. They might invest in their equipment, manage their expenses, and bear the risk of profit or loss. Employees, conversely, receive consistent wages or salaries. They do not usually have to invest in their own tools or bear financial risks.

Relationship type

The nature of the relationship between the worker and employer is also significant. Employees often have formal employment contracts, receive benefits, and have long-term employment relationships. Independent contractors usually have contracts for specific projects or time periods. They also do not receive employee benefits like health insurance or retirement plans.

Avoiding legal pitfalls through proper classification

Proper classification of workers is essential for compliance with labor laws. It affects tax obligations, legal responsibilities, and the overall working relationship. Businesses should seek professional guidance if they need help classifying workers. Determining the correct classification helps preserve working relationships and avoids potential legal issues.