Can independent contractors be forced to work at a specific place?

The company I work for has said that new laws have passed for independent contractors and that’s why they can force us to go to the office to work and tell us when our work day starts and ends. Does this law actually exist? Is there anything that exists that says independent contractors can be forced to work at a specific place and time when such things were not covered in the contract I signed?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no such law, and furthermore, if your employer can, as a *general* matter, tell independent contractors what hours to work and where to work, they are not "independent" contractors--they are employees, eligible for overtime (if nonexempt from overtime), and for whom the employer needs to pay FICA, provide benefits (as appropriate), etc.

Go to the Dept. of Labor website; you can find the "tests" for whether someone is an independent contractor or not. Probably the biggest factor in finding that someone is actually an employee and needs to be paid as such is that the employer exercises substantial control.

There are always some exceptions depending on circumstances, of course: certain kinds of IT independent contractors might need to do their support, etc. onsite and during normal working hours, when the employer's staff needs suppport. But that's a function of the specific situation.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.