The Line Between an Independent Contractor and a Full-Time Employee Can Be Very Thin Indeed

The law is constantly evolving when it comes to the status of independent contractors vs. full-time employees, which means that the common practice of denying overtime pay to independent contractors may soon be a thing of the past. In the eyes of many courts, if a worker in New York is treated as if he's an integral part of a company, he may be entitled to classification as a full-time employee, and thus become eligible for overtime if he puts in more than 40 hours of work per week.

 

Independent Contractors Usually Work for Multiple Companies and Set Their Own Schedules

You might be surprised by the number of individuals nationwide who work full-time (40 or more hours per week) for a single company, and still are classified as independent contractors. This in and of itself can be a red flag to the government; after all, independent contractors are ostensibly in control of their own schedules, and provide their services to multiple clients in any given week.

Other practices that may affect an individual's independent contractor status include:

  • Giving the contractor his own email address at the company
  • Throwing occasional “perks” in the worker's direction (company picnics, vacation getaways, etc.)
  • Listing that individual in an internal phone directory
  • Assigning the worker an office with a name tag on her door

If this type of evidence seems “squishy” and circumstantial, that's because the difference between an independent contractor and a full-time employee in the state of New York can be, well, squishy and circumstantial. Essentially, many companies want to have things both ways: they classify workers as “independent contractors,” and thus supposedly are entitled to a certain degree of flexibility and self-direction. But then they expect these workers to put in more than 40 hours per week. When contractors ask about overtime pay, the managers reply, “Sorry, you're not entitled to overpay compensation as an independent contractor.”

 

Let an Experienced Lawyer Tell You Whether You Truly Are an Independent Contractor

When it comes to classification as an independent contractor versus a full-time worker, you shouldn't automatically accept the word of your employer, who may have selfish motives for his decisions. At the law firm of Kennedy Hodges LLP, our New York overtime attorneys have decades of experience interpreting and applying independent contractor law. We can look over the available evidence to tell you whether you are eligible for back overtime pay. We have even written a book, The 10 Mistakes that Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim, available to you for free at your request. Call us today for a free consultation at 888-449-2068!