Am I an independent contractor?

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Am I an independent contractor?

I have been offered a job as a camp counselor at a summer camp and the contract says I am an independent contractor, not an employee. There is a good deal of free time in the job, however I am required to work for specific hours, attend meetings, and attend training. I am also paid a set salary for the summer. Should I be considered an employee? I do not want to pay twice the FICA tax I should be paying.

Asked on June 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are almost certainly an employee based on what you write: whether there is free time or not, as a counselor, you employer will direct you in how to do your job, where to be, hours to work, etc.--those are all hallmarks of an employee. (You'd be an independent contractor if you were paid to keep an eye on and occupy a group of kids, but could determine where, when, how, etc. to do that.) Having worked as a camp counselor in the past, I can cannot conceive of a conselor not being an employee. If you take the job, know that will be taking a job where, to be treated (and taxed, etc.) properly, you will have to at some point file a complaint with the department of labor and institute legal action against your employer for mischaracterizing you as a contractor when you are employee. Also note that an employer which obviously violates the law in this way may also violate it in others--perhaps withholding pay for alleged violations by you, perhaps skimping on safety, etc.


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