Misclassification Attorneys Tell Us Your Story

Misclassification Attorneys

If you lost wages because your employer misclassified your status as an employee, contact the employee rights and overtime lawyers of Wallace Miller immediately. We might be able to represent you in your case against them. You could receive compensation for your unpaid wages, overtime, and other benefits.

Companies often misclassify employees as independent contractors. Although the job responsibilities might be similar, there is a significant difference between the two. Mainly, an independent contractor doesn’t receive the same protections and advantages under federal law as a full-time non-exempt employee. Sometimes, misclassification is an honest mistake. However, there are times when an employer purposely classifies a worker as an independent contractor to avoid providing specific benefits.

At Wallace Miller, we understand the financial burden of missing out on the benefits you deserve. You can count on us to fight for you if you don’t receive overtime pay, health insurance coverage, or another type of benefit you should have as an employee. We will advocate for your rights and pursue compensation for back pay, interest, and other expenses. You don’t have to seek legal action against your employer alone. Our misclassification attorneys will remain in your corner throughout every step of the process until the end.

Call Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 today for your free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes a range of standards for employees in the private sector and local, state, and federal governments, such as:

  • Minimum wage – The federal minimum wage for non-exempt employees is $7.25 per hour. Many states have their own laws regarding minimum wage. However, if an employee is subject to the minimum wage law at the state and federal level, they should receive the higher of the two.
  • Overtime pay – Eligible non-exempt employees can receive overtime pay for working beyond 40 hours per week. The overtime pay rate must not be less than one and one-half times the regular pay rate. Regular days of rest, weekends, and holidays don’t fall under the FLSA. However, overtime pay is a requirement if a covered employee works on any of those days.
  • Recordkeeping – Employers must keep records regarding each employee’s pay and time. They must also display an official poster of an outline of FLSA requirements.
  • Child labor laws – The child labor provision protects minors’ educational opportunities and prohibits employment in jobs and conditions detrimental to their well-being or health.
  • Hours worked – “Hours worked” refers to the time an employee is required to be at a prescribed workplace, on the employer’s premises, or on duty.

Employers who violate any of these standards could face legal action.

Understanding Types of Employment

Two types of classifications affect a person’s pay, benefits, and protections.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee

An employee is a person who works for a business. Independent contractors employ themselves. Companies might hire them to perform specific jobs but don’t actually employ them.

Since an independent contractor isn’t technically an employee, they don’t receive the protections and benefits of a full-time employee, such as:

  • Unemployment benefits
  • Overtime pay
  • Employer contributions to Social Security
  • Workers’ compensation coverage
  • Health insurance coverage

Salaried vs. Hourly Employee

How an employer pays someone can affect their classification and the benefits they are entitled to.

A salaried employee is on a fixed income. That means they receive the same pay no matter how many hours they work each week. They are similar to independent contractors because they are ineligible to receive the benefits non-exempt employees get.

Although salaried employees can participate in a 401(k) plan and receive paid time off (PTO), they are not allowed to receive overtime pay. These employees might have to work beyond the typical forty-hour workweek to complete their job duties, but they’ll be paid the same salary as usual.

Hourly employees receive an hourly wage for each hour they work. They are non-exempt employees, according to FLSA. That means they are not exempt from the protections of federal labor laws and benefits, such as overtime pay from their employer.

Common Types of Misclassified Employees

Workers who are often misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees include:

  • Construction workers
  • IT workers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Tipped employees
  • Salespeople
  • Customer service staff
  • Manufacturing/industrial workers
  • Oil and gas service companies and operators
  • Disaster cleanup and recovery
  • Individuals employed by a staffing agency

This isn’t a comprehensive list of all misclassified workers. No matter what job industry you’re in, your employer could classify you as an independent contractor.

How to Tell Whether Your Classification Is Wrong

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employers can only classify specific individuals as independent contractors, including:

  • Lawyers
  • Doctors
  • Contractors
  • Accountants
  • Veterinarians
  • Public stenographers
  • Dentists
  • Auctioneers
  • Subcontractors

An independent contractor is a person who works in an independent trade, profession, or business and offers services to the general public. They also have the right to direct or control how they perform their work.

You are probably not an independent contractor if:

  • Your employer controls, schedules, or directs your duties and how to complete them
  • Your employer provides training on your work that is unique to their operations or systems
  • Your employer provides the necessary tools to perform your job
  • Your relationship with your employer is permanent and exists between your projects and jobs
  • You receive earnings at a set amount
  • Your pay is on an hourly, weekly, or monthly schedule

Even if the employment contract you sign states that you are an independent contractor, it might not be true. Your employer might have tricked you into signing it without explaining the content. Many people sign documents when they first start a new job without reading through everything. They often trust that their employer isn’t misrepresenting the facts or tricking them into signing away their rights.

Disadvantages of an Independent Contractor Classification

Employee misclassification means you lose out on a range of benefits non-exempt employees receive, such as:

  • Medicare and Social Security taxes – Employers cover half of Medicare and Social Security taxes for full-time employees. You must pay the full taxes out of pocket as an independent contractor.
  • Workers’ compensation – If you get hurt on the job, you can’t file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits cover medical care, lost wages, and other expenses.
  • FLSA regulations – As a full-time employee, you have various rights under the FLSA, including sick pay, overtime, and reasonable breaks. Independent contractors are not allowed the same rights.
  • Group health insurance – Employers offer coverage to employees under group health insurance plans. You might have to pay for your own insurance as an independent contractor.
  • Unemployment – If you lose your job or contracted project, you likely can’t receive unemployment benefits.

The benefits you lose as an independent contractor can negatively impact your finances. You could miss out on a significant amount of pay you would receive if you were an actual employee. Additionally, you might have to pay the IRS all the taxes that must be paid on your income, rather than your employer picking up a percentage.

How to File a Misclassification Claim

You should contact Wallace Miller immediately and speak to one of our misclassification attorneys if you believe your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor. We can handle the complex nature of your case and pursue legal action on your behalf. You don’t have to worry about preparing your case yourself.

The steps you should follow to file a claim against your employer include:

  • Create a statement – You should submit a statement to your employer in writing that you believe they misclassified you as an independent contractor. Even if they dismiss your claims or don’t correct the mistake, having documentation of your notice to your employer could benefit your case.
  • File a complaint – You can file a complaint with the IRS. The agency is partially responsible for reviewing misclassifications and enforcing corrections. Your report might result in an investigation.
  • File a lawsuit – If you explore all other options and fail, you could file a lawsuit against your employer. You might be able to participate in a class action if multiple employees also suffered losses from a misclassification.

Compensation for Misclassification

If your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor instead of an employee, you could file a lawsuit against them. The compensation you receive might provide money for:

  • Unpaid state or local minimum wages
  • Unpaid overtime
  • Penalties for failure to provide a compliant and accurate paystub
  • Reimbursement of FICA taxes paid as an independent contractor
  • Reimbursement for occupational expenses, such as mileage, phone, and uniform
  • Penalties for failure to pay overtime
  • Penalties for failure to notify of rights to sick leave

Wallace Miller will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation you are entitled to for the misclassification. Whether accidental or intentional, your employer didn’t classify you correctly and should face the consequences of their actions.

Contact Us

The misclassification attorneys of Wallace Miller have decades of experience representing clients harmed by the mistreatment of their employers. We will seek legal action on your behalf and protect your rights throughout legal proceedings. You will be our top priority and receive the guidance and support you need.

If your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor, resulting in lost wages and other benefits of a full-time employee, call Wallace Miller at (312) 261-6193 now for your free consultation.

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