Employers are often in a precarious position in which they may be sued by business partners, employees and customers. However, there are often steps that they can take to minimize their exposure. General legal services provided by competent and knowledgeable Texas employment law lawyers can help minimize this risk. One common reason why employers face wage claims is when individuals allege that they were employees but were paid as independent contractors.
This distinction is often important as employees are entitled to greater rights than independent contractors, such as being protected by federal and state employment laws such as the minimum wage law. Employers bear the responsibility of classifying workers correctly. Even a written contract between the parties that designates the worker as an independent contractor is not definitive. Misclassifying a worker can result in fines and taxes. The relationship between the parties and the direction and control are what determines the appropriate classification of workers.
A number of factors are used to determine whether the employer has direction and control over the worker. For example, attorney Jake Posey notes that an employee is often given an extensive amount of instructions to know how to do his or her job while an independent contractor often performs the task in a way that he or she devises. Employees are usually required to perform the job themselves while independent contractors can often assign the work to someone else. Employees use the materials and tools that the employer provides and independent contractors are often responsible for furnishing their own. Employees may be restricted from working for competitors while independent contractors are often not subject to non-competition provisions. The way independent contractors and employees are paid are often much different with the employee being paid on a set schedule and the independent contractor being paid at the completion of a job.
If you would like assistance in determining the appropriate classification of a worker, contact us.