Despite the specific laws requiring employers to pay employees a fair minimum wage and to provide for overtime pay, many companies try to find tricky ways or loopholes to avoid these requirements. At Phillips & Associates, our wage and hour attorneys have helped many New York City residents seek the compensation that they deserve from an employer engaging in unlawful payment practices.Recognizing an Employer-Employee Relationship
There are many ways to determine whether someone should be classified as an employee. Typically, an employer-employee relationship exists when the employer has the authority to tell the employee when and where he or she will work and how he or she will perform the job duties. Employers can also request written reports, evaluate job performance, set the rate of pay, and reserve the right to review any work product. Of course, employers also have the ability to hire and fire employees at will, unless the employer and employee have entered into an employment contract providing otherwise.How Employers Take Advantage of Classifications to Avoid Paying Wages
Employers may attempt to treat an employee as an independent contractor in order to avoid paying the wide array of benefits that employers are required to provide for their work forces. They often include workers’ compensation insurance premiums, social security benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, temporary disabilities, tax withholdings, and minimum wage and overtime payments. Paying an employee as an independent contractor essentially constitutes paying that employee “off the books,” which is a violation of state and federal employment laws. These regulations have been enacted against misclassification abuse in order to prevent employers who engage in this unlawful conduct from gaining a competitive advantage over employers who play by the rules.
In general, an independent contractor will be in control of his or her workload and will typically have his or her own office. Independent contractors usually maintain their own insurance policies, company logos, and letterheads, and they tend to set their own schedules. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor almost always has the right to refuse a work assignment. Ultimately, an independent contractor is free from an employer’s supervision, direction, and control. Examples of occupations that typically operate as independent contractors are expert consultants and construction entities, among others. Generally speaking, if you have a boss who can tell you where to go, what to do, and how to do it, you are legally an employee and are entitled to various protections under the federal and state law.Enlist a New York City Attorney to Protect Your Rights in the Workplace
If you think that your employer is trying to avoid paying the benefits and compensation that you deserve by purposefully misclassifying you as an independent contractor, you may be entitled to compensation. In many cases, New York and federal laws impose penalties against employers that fail to comply with applicable laws. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City lawyers are skilled in wage and hour claims as well as overtime actions and other legal tools available to employees who are trying to hold their employers accountable for engaging in misconduct. We have represented individuals throughout the five boroughs of the city, including Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us now at 1-212-248-7431 or contact us online to set up an appointment.
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