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What are My Employment Rights as a Freelancer or Independent Contractor?

What are My Employment Rights as a Freelancer or Independent Contractor?

When you work as a freelancer or independent contractor, it can be difficult to figure out what your rights are in terms of your employment. Independent contractors such as these tend to be excluded from the typical employer/employee relationship, but this is not always the case. If the case can be made that an employer-employee relationship exists, then the independent contractor may still enjoy some protections. Even if there is a written contract indicating that the relationship between two parties is that of principal and independent contractor, if it can be shown that an employer-employee relationship exists, then that contractor may have some employment rights.

Determining the Relationship

For example, discussing answers to the following questions with an employment attorney can help determine whether there is an employer-employee relationship (and therefore, whether or not the independent contractor enjoys certain employment rights):

  • Who has control over the relationship? Is it the contractor or principal?
  • Is training required in order for the contractor to perform their services?
  • How does the principal use the contractor’s services in the course of their business?
  • Who supervises and pays the contractor?
  • Is the work continuing or reoccurring?
  • Who determines the contractor’s schedule?
  • Where is the work performed?
  • Who determines the scope of work?
  • What type of reporting is provided by the contractor to the principal, if any?
  • Under what circumstances is the contractor paid?
  • Who provides any necessary materials or tools for the contractor to perform the work (if any)?
  • Is the contractor reimbursed for any work-related expenses?
  • Does the contractor have any investment in the principal’s business?
  • Does the contractor also do work for other principals or entities? Is the contractor available for hire by others while doing work for the principal?
  • Has any agreement been reached as to under what circumstances the principal can “let go of” the contractor, or cancel their services? Similarly, can the contractor end their services for the principal at any time?

Know Your Rights

In general, an independent contractor is under contract, for a limited period of time, to perform a specific service or work product for an employer, and is exempt from certain protections provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act. However, many workers have been misclassified by employers as independent contractors, sometimes in order to avoid paying overtime and providing benefits. Therefore, if you have any questions about your employment rights, you always want to discuss the topic with an experienced employment law attorney.

Columbus, Ohio Employment Law Attorneys

The Columbus, Ohio, employment law attorneys of Marshall Forman & Schlein LLC represent individuals involved in employment law claims, including freelancers and independent contractors. Contact us today with any employment questions you might have.

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