Are you an employee or a contractor? In many workplaces, the distinction may not seem very obvious. You may do the same work as your colleague, yet your worker classification may be different.
It may seem insignificant that your employer calls you a contractor and your coworker an employee. However, it’s important to know that your worker classification is not a haphazard label your employer gets to assign. There are laws that define each worker category. Understanding the difference – and whether your employer has misclassified you – can make a huge difference in the benefits you can receive.
Understanding the difference
Under New Jersey law, a worker is a contractor only if they meet all of the following criteria:
- The manner in which the worker performs their work is outside of the control and direction of the employing company.
- The work of the contractor is not work that the company usually engages in, or the contractor performs services for the company off of the company’s worksite – and outside of any of the company’s places of business.
- The worker performing services for the company has their own independent business or trade.
Why it matters
Unfortunately, there are many employers out there who misclassify their employees as contractors – in order to save the company money. Contractors are much cheaper for businesses to hire than employees, because contractors are not entitled to benefits such as health insurance, paid time off and overtime pay. In addition, contractors are not allowed to claim workers’ compensation in the event of a workplace injury.
If you’re injured on the job and your employer claims you’re a contractor in order to deny you workers’ compensation, you have legal recourse. Discussing your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get the financial support you deserve.