There isn’t just one way to classify individuals who perform work for a company. There are instead multiple ways to do so. Employees and contractors are two labels assigned to individuals who perform work. Even smaller subcategories fall under these headings, such as part-time and full-time, salaried versus hourly and exempt employees. While many workers understand some fundamental differences between these different classifications, few fully comprehend how their employer’s classification choice impacts them.
Why classification matters
How your employer describes your role with their company affects your rights as an employee. You may be ineligible to receive overtime or workers’ compensation benefits if an employer classifies you as an independent contractor. You may be ineligible for minimum wage and employer-funded health insurance, depending on your employment status. You may find yourself needing to cover your own Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) or Self-Employed Contributions Act (SECA) because of this as well.
Employers that are most apt to misclassify employees
Companies in specific industries, including the construction, trucking, home health care and housekeeping ones, are more likely to misclassify their workers than others. These companies often misclassify workers to avoid paying high workers’ compensation insurance premiums. These employers’ misclassification of workers often results in higher administrative, tax, insurance and labor costs for everyone else who does things right.
What you can do if you’re a misclassified worker
One sign that your employer may have you misclassified is if they frequently shift your worksite. Another is if they seem unwilling to get you in front of a doctor to be seen for on-the-job injuries. A wage & hour issues attorney can help you determine whether your New York employer misclassified you and, if so, aid you in recovering any missed compensation or benefits attributable to your classification issues.