What do I do if I was a mislabeled worker?

I had a written independent contractor
agreement however I believe I was placed in
the incorrect category. How can I determine

Asked on September 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

For a more detailed answer, go to the U.S. Dept. of Labor website, search for "independent contractor" on that site, and compare the criteria you find there to your job and how you did it and how you were managed. Whether a given worker is an independent contractor or an employee is a fact- and context-specific question, so it depends on the details of your job.
For the quick, thumbnail answer: ignoring the agreement (since such agreements will not stand up or be enforced if they are plainly wrong or false), you are likely an employee, not an independent contractor if one or more of the following apply to you:
1) Your employer tells you not just what to do but how; they have the right to manage how the job gets done. (Contrast this with hiring a plumber--you tell the plumber you have a leak, then stand back while he decides how to fix it.)
2) You work set or fixed hours set by the employer, at a location determined by the employer; independet contractors generally have at least some control over where and when they do the work.
3) You only had the one employer--usually independent contractors have more than one employer or contractor--not necessarily simultaneously (though many do), but at least in relatively short or quick succession.
4) Your employer provided your tools, supplies, equipment, etc.; generally contractors provide these things for themselves.
5) Because you didn't have to pay the costs of your job (e.g. for tools, equipment, etc.) you could not lose money on it, but were guaranteed to turn a profit--a true independent contrator is iike his or her own small business, and like any other business, can have a loss instead of a profit if their costs exceed what they are paid.

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