Misclassification: Recognizing an employer-employee relationship

Misclassification: Recognizing an employer-employee relationship

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Employment Law - Employee

In Florida, employment disputes can come about over a range of issues. One that might not get the same amount of attention as other employer-employee disagreements is how the worker is classified. Allegations of employee misclassification might not get the same amount of attention as discrimination, unpaid wages, harassment and failure to accurately calculate overtime, but that does not make it any less of a problem.

In some instances, it is due to a misunderstanding. In others, it is done willfully to avoid the responsibility of adhering to the law for employer-employee relationships. Regardless, knowing how to determine an accurate classification of an employee requires understanding what factors are considered. These are known as common law rules.

Knowing when misclassification might be happening

There are fundamentals that dictate whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. An independent contractor does not require certain labor costs, unemployment insurance and other protections that employees have.

The first tenet of gauging whether a worker is an employee is the amount of control the business has over the work itself. If a painting contractor is contracted to redo an office, then it is clear they are not employees. However, if the employer hires someone and has oversight on their work and how they go about it, the worker will generally be an employee.

The type of work the employee does is integral to the determination. If they have a specific job like the previously mentioned painter or perhaps a cleaner for a medical office, then this differentiates their job from what would normally be needed each day at the business. Some work is done under the supervision of the employer. If the worker is performing their duties without that supervision, the likelihood is that they are working independently.

Other factors are the specific skills the worker is providing. Contractors generally specialize in their area whereas an employee might have a specialty, but will serve in various functions on the job. Also, the employer supplying the worker with what they need to do the job is a major aspect of assessing whether it is an employee or not. Employees generally are not asked to provide their own supplies whereas a contractor would.

Employees will work at the business in a long-term manner. A contractor would not even if it is an extensive job. How they are paid is also key. An independent contractor might receive a down payment and the remainder once the job is done.

Know the facts about employee misclassification

An employee who was misclassified might have been deprived their full wages and benefits. This can be problematic in myriad ways and should be addressed as soon as possible. Checking the worker’s duties, their job requirements, how the employer oversaw them and other factors can dictate the accurate classification. This can be essential with making sure the employee is treated fairly based on employment law.