What Are My Rights as an Independent Contractor?

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You may assume that, since you are an independent contractor and not a full-time employee, you are not protected under federal and state law. However, this is where you may be mistaken. Read on to discover your rights as an independent contractor and how a seasoned New York employee contract lawyer at Bell Law Group can work to ensure you are protected.

As an independent contractor, what are my rights in New York State?

First of all, an independent contractor is a self-employed individual who is contracted to provide their goods and services as a non-employee to an employer. This is otherwise known as a freelancer.

An example of this is if you are a freelance writer. Well, an employer may enter into an agreement with you, in which you promise to provide your writing services for a given project or a given amount of time (i.e., write content for their website for three months). In turn, they may offer you a payout that does not withhold income tax, Social Security, and Medicare. But unlike a full-time employee, you may not receive benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or employer-sponsored retirement accounts.

Without further ado, below is a list of rights that New York State believes independent contractors should hold:

  • Flexibility with your work hours for an assigned project from an employer.
  • Flexibility with the workspace, equipment, tools, and supplies you use for an assigned project from an employer.
  • Autonomy to refuse an assigned project from an employer.
  • Autonomy to accept work from other businesses during your assigned project with an employer.
  • Free from an employer’s training procedures.
  • Free from an employer’s performance reviews.
  • Free from an employer’s disciplinary process.

As an employee, why might my employer misclassify me as an independent contractor?

More often than you may realize, employers may attempt to misclassify their employees as independent contractors. The main reason why an employer may do this is so they do not have to pay for Social Security and unemployment insurance taxes, along with income and Medicare taxes. Other reasons are as follows:

  • An employer may not want to pay at the minimum wage rate of $15 per hour.
  • An employer may not want to pay for an employee’s overtime work of more than 40 hours per week.
  • An employer may not want an employee to take earned sick leave, job-protected family leave, etc.

So if you are an employee who has been wrongfully misclassified as an independent contractor, then you may be able to sue your employer for damages. More specifically, you may recover backpay for unpaid wages and liquidated damages, among other things. You must tackle your employment issue as soon as possible. So call a competent New York employee rights lawyer from Bell Law Group today.

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