What’s in a Name: Employee Versus Independent Contractor
The misclassification of employees as independent contractors leads to high levels of employment fraud. Workers can be cheated out of wages, denied family and medical leave, and deprived of injury benefits offered to employees under the Workers’ Compensation Act — simply because of a job title.
This is why courts in Florida do not rely solely on a job title to distinguish between the benefits accorded to different classes of workers. Courts distinguish employees from contractors by weighing factors like:
- Contractual control over the details of the work: Does the employer dictate how work is to be performed, or is the contractor left to decide?
- A separate occupation or business: Does the contractor own a business, hire employees, maintain a business checking account, invoice for work completed, have multiple clients, own tools of a trade, set work hours, keep business records, etc.?
- Degree of supervision and control exercised by the employer: Does the contractor have the skills and experience necessary to perform a task with minimum direction and supervision?
- Skill required to do the job: Does the contractor have vocational training or licensing?
- Who supplies the instruments: Did the contractor bring tools, equipment, vehicles, materials and supplies to a job site?
- Length of employment: Was the employment contract exclusive? How long was the term? Was there a termination date?
- Payment method: Was there an hourly rate? Was there a bid or job-based pay rate?
- Employer’s regular business: Was the work essential to the success or failure of the employer’s business — so that the employer exercised greater control over the work’s performance?
- Contractual intent: Does the contract describe the actual working relationship?
- Employer’s sophistication: Was the misclassification deliberate?
For more information about labor law in Florida, consult with an experienced attorney.