What Are My Options If I Suspect I’ve Been Misclassified?
When someone accepts an offer of employment, they are then classified on their employer’s books as an employee. This means that they are entitled to certain guarantees and benefits, such as access to workers’ compensation insurance, minimum wage, and overtime pay. However, some unscrupulous employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, ostensibly to save money on payroll tax and insurance premiums. If you suspect that this has happened to you, you do have options, at least in New York. Consulting a knowledgeable attorney can be a first step in the right direction.
Misclassification Denies Employees Their Due
Hiring independent contractors instead of full-time employees can be economically advantageous for many companies. In exchange for greater freedom in how and where work is done, employers do not have to provide monetary benefits like reimbursement for expenses, guaranteed minimum wage, or unemployment insurance (among others). However, the person must actually be an independent contractor, able to have greater control over the methods they use to do their work.
If an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, they stand a good chance of being deprived of benefits to which they are contractually entitled. Many employers may simply see it as an inconsequential ‘alteration’ of the books, or as a purely internal matter, but under the laws of New York State and many other jurisdictions, misclassification rises to the level of fraud, and employers can face serious punishment if it is determined that they misclassified deliberately.
Independent Contractors Have Rights
Something to keep in mind in New York is that even if an employee is appropriately classified as an independent contractor, state law gives them certain rights. New York has a law called the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, passed in 2017, which requires employers who hire independent contractors to provide a written contract, “timely and full payment,” and protection from retaliatory action. Most other states do not guarantee these things for independent contractors, but New York seeks to protect independent contractors so as to ensure they are treated fairly.
Thus, regardless of your classification with your employer, it is important that you are aware you are entitled to certain benefits. If your employer fails to provide them, or actively seeks to take them from you, you can file a complaint with the state’s Joint Task Force, which is part of the Department of Labor. An attorney well versed in this area of law can help you file and to guide you through the legal process.
Call A New York Misclassification Attorney
Being misclassified by your employer deprives you of money and benefits that you are entitled to receive under New York law. If you suspect that this is happening to you, contacting a New York City misclassification attorney from Mansell Law, LLC is a good idea. We are happy to try and assist you with your case. Contact our office today via our website, or on the phone at 646-921-8900 for a free consultation.