Misclassification of workers has been a hot topic in the news recently, owing largely to an ongoing, high-profile conflict involving the ride-sharing service Uber. Drivers for the service claim they should be treated as employees and thus entitled to certain protections and benefits, while the company maintains that the drivers are independent contractors. What you may not realize about this issue while reading these stories is that it could apply to you and your job, even if you are not a driver.
How misclassification can hurt you
Independent contractor misclassification occurs when a worker who should be treated as an employee is instead regarded - at least on paper - as an independent contractor. Employee misclassification can occurs in many different industries throughout Detroit, Michigan, and the rest of the country as well. If it happens to you, it can wrongfully deprive you of income and other hard-earned benefits such as:
- Overtime pay
- Paid meal and rest breaks
- Vacation time
- Sick leave
- Disability benefits
- Medical and dental insurance
- Parental leave
Worker misclassification can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes employers misclassify workers due to an honest mistake or misunderstanding of the law. Other times, they do so in a deliberate attempt to sidestep their financial obligations to their employees and the government by avoiding payroll taxes and other costs. Regardless of the reason, however, worker misclassification can cause problems for you and should be resolved.
How to tell if you might be a misclassified worker
Sometimes workers may be legitimately classified as independent contractors, but in many cases the classification is incorrect. Generally speaking, people who are legitimately classified as independent contractors have a high degree of control over what they do and how they do it, and they often provide their services to more than one company on a short-term or temporary basis. In contrast, employees are more likely to receive supervision and on-the-job training, and are likely to have their work and schedules established by the people they are doing work for. In addition, employees tend to work only for one company at a time for long or indefinite periods of time.
Advocating for the rights of misclassified workers
If you are misclassified as an independent contractor, you may not be getting paid everything that you should be for the work you do. Contact the experienced employment lawyers at Miller Cohen, PLC, to find out more about the worker misclassification laws that may apply to your situation and the options that are available to help you recover compensation for your back wages, unpaid overtime and other losses.