Independent contractor vs employee

I am in the construction
business my employer says I’m
an independent contractor but
according to my understanding
under Tennessee labor laws I’m
technically considered an
employee not an independent
contractor I need clarification
on what the laws state and what
I need to do if he is breaking
the law about filing a suits

Asked on January 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can find good discussions of when someone is (and is not) an independent contractor at both the U.S. Dept. of Labor website and the IRS website.
In brief, if your employer controls how you do your job (instead of just giving you a project, then you do it however you want), sets your hours (instead of, say, giving you a deadline for work to be done, but then--as long as hit the deadline--it doesn't matter what hours or when you work), controls where you work (instead of you having freedom to do some work whereever you like, as long as it gets done), you are almost certainly an employee, not independent contractor. This degree of control over your work is not compatible with the "independence" an independent contractor has.
Other indicia that you are an employee, not independent contractor:
1) Your employer provides tools and equipment;
2) You only have the one employer, not several or multiple clients;
3) You can't lose money working: employees get paid for working no matter what, but indepenent contractors can have a loss rather than turning a profit if their expenses exceed income.

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