"A fair day's wage for a fair day's work: it is as just a demand as governed men ever made of governing. It is the everlasting right of man." Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Author and Philosopher

"If a man or a woman puts in an honest day's work, they should be able to earn a living wage." Richard J. Codey, Politician

"It is but equity...that they who feed, clothe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed and lodged." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

"Wages are determined by the bitter struggle between capitalist and worker." Karl Marx, German political and economic philosopher

Independent Contractor, Really?

“Honest Wages for an Honest Day’s Work!”

Are you really an “independent contractor” or….really an “employee”?

Ah!, that is the million dollar question! The Courts have repeatedly said that the answer to this question requires a full assessment and analysis of the employer/ employee relationship as a “whole”. Courts look at the underlying “economic reality” of the parties’ relationship in terms of whether the service provider is economically dependent on the business that is the alleged employer.

The FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions govern “employer-employee” relationships but do not apply to “genuine” independent contractor’s relationship with a business. Although both parties (i.e., a business and an alleged independent contractor) may label their relationship as an “independent contractor” one (and, may even have a contract that states the same), under the FLSA, courts will ultimately ignore such labels and instead focus on the true “economic realities” of the relationship.

Therefore, it is very common for the courts to find that a so-called independent contractor relationship is, in fact and reality, nothing less than an employer- employee relationship, thereby subjecting the employer and employee to the FLSA’s minimum wages, overtime, exemptions and other wage provisions.

Factors the Courts have looked at to determine if a service provider is truly an “employee” vs. an “independent contractor” includes:

  1. the extent to which your employment services are an integrated part of the alleged employer’s business;
  2. the duration of your relationship with the alleged employer, for example, how long have you worked for this company?;
  3. the amount of your financial investment in the alleged employer’s business in order to carry out your job function. Such as, are you required to use your own tools or equipment?;
  4. the nature and degree of control exercised over you by the alleged employer. For example, Who decides on what hours to be worked?; when you work?; how you work?, your pay rate; etc.;
  5. Your opportunity to obtain profits from your working relationship with the alleged employer. For example, are you really an hourly or fixed salaried employees vs being your own boss?; and,
  6. the level of skill initiative, judgment, and/or foresight required to perform your job. For example, does your job require you, for the most part, to perform routine tasks requiring little training?, do you have a separate work site, etc.?

Again the question must be asked: Are you really an “independent contractor” or….really an “employee”?

Do you believe you have a wage and hour claim?

If you believe that you may be an employee instead of an independent contractor and that your legal rights as an employee may have been violated, please feel free to contact the law firm of JonesSatreWeimer for a free consultation (Need a lawyer?).