Most workers in Philadelphia are classified as traditional employees and enjoy the rights that are afforded them under the law. However, you could lose out on several benefits if your employer has misclassified your employment.
Employee misclassification is common in Philadelphia and can result in a worker not having the coverage they believe that they did. Most employees are misclassified as independent contractors. Some employers do this intentionally to save money since independent contractors are excluded from many forms of benefits that typical employees can claim.
Contact Lerner, Steinberg & Associates at (215) 355-6400 for a free case review with our employee misclassification lawyers.
Employee Misclassification in Philadelphia
Employee misclassification” occurs when a company or employer in Philadelphia designates a worker as an independent contractor rather than a traditional employee when they should, in fact, be classified as such. Fortunately, our Philadelphia employee misclassification lawyers can help you change your erroneous classification. It is illegal for a Philadelphia employer to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor, regardless of whether they misclassified you intentionally or by mistake. Employee misclassification affects countless workers across Philadelphia and could result in the loss of several benefits if they are classified as independent contractors.
It can be difficult to determine if your employment has been misclassified. You likely receive a regular paycheck and other benefits, which could make you think you are a traditional employee. This could be a costly mistake if it turns out that you are an independent contractor, as you will not usually be able to recover compensation for on-the-job injuries. Employee misclassification can also impact a worker’s family since independent contractors are routinely denied benefits that support workers and their families during times of need.
Employee Misclassification as an Independent Contractor in Philadelphia
In Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, workers are generally presumed to be traditional employees unless a worker’s status has been officially classified as an independent contractor. There are many benefits to being a typical employee that make it preferable to being an independent contractor. For instance, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (DOL) have many protections and benefits for traditional employees that independent contractors are not entitled to.
Determining If You Are an Independent Contractor
However, it can be difficult to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. You cannot be classified as an independent contractor simply because there is a written agreement stating you are such. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Board provides a test to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor. For an employee to be classified as an independent contractor, they must be free from the direction or control over whether the employee performs services and works in an industry that routinely engages in an independently established business, profession, or trade.
What this means is that independent contractors are generally not under the direct supervision of the company they are providing services for. They are typically free to choose the hours they work and own their own equipment for the job, whereas a traditional employee usually needs to comply with the directions of their supervisors and receive the materials they need from the company.
Companies and employers misclassify workers because they can usually save a great deal of money by not having to pay benefits, insurance, taxes, and other expenses for the worker. It can also be a way to underpay workers and avoid having to maintain costly health insurance.
Independent Contractors vs. Traditional Employees
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Board can consider several other factors in addition to those listed above when determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or a traditional employee. Independent contractors typically must pay their Medicare and Social Security taxes out of their own pocket and cannot claim unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs. Traditional workers are eligible for their company’s healthcare insurance and Workers’ Compensation benefits if injured on the job, while independent contractors generally are not eligible for these benefits.
Any worker can be the victim of misclassification, but they tend to occur more regularly in certain industries. For instance, misclassification of construction workers is a major problem in Philadelphia. Other commonly misclassified workers include home healthcare providers, security guards, delivery drivers, janitors, maintenance staff, and insurance adjusters.
Employee Misclassification as a Salaried Employee in Philadelphia
Employees could also be misclassified as salaried employees when they should be paid an hourly wage. Employers might misclassify an employee so that they can avoid paying overtime and other benefits afforded to hourly employees. In many cases, workers receive a promotion without any change in their job duties. If a worker is classified as a salaried employee, they will make the same amount of money whether they work 40 hours in a week or 60. Common positions that are misclassified as salaried include customer service representatives, sales representatives, executives, managers, and many others.
How to Tell If Your Employment Was Misclassified in Philadelphia
As discussed, it can be challenging to know whether your job status has been misclassified in Philadelphia. You could do all the routine things you did at prior jobs, so it might not occur to you that you are actually an independent contractor and were designated as such by your employer.
However, there are some ways to determine whether you are a standard employee or if you are an independent contractor. For example, if you have a direct supervisor that you regularly report to, you are probably a traditional employee. If you are required to clock in and out of work or report the number of hours you work, this also might indicate that you are a regular employee. Also, being given a W-2 to file with your employer for tax purposes makes it likely that you are an employee. However, if you filed a Form 1099 for your taxes when hired or are self-employed and own your own business, you will usually be considered an independent contractor.
What to Do If You Are a Misclassified Employee in Philadelphia
Being misclassified at work can have a significant impact on your life, but you can take steps to ensure you do not lose out on benefits you are entitled to. For starters, workers can file a “Worker Misclassification Inquiry” form online with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. Next, you should get legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected fully.
Our Philadelphia Employee Misclassification Lawyers Can Help
For a free case assessment with our employee misclassification attorneys, call Lerner, Steinberg & Associates today at (215) 355-6400.