One way an employer can try to deny your benefits is by claiming you were an independent contractor.
There are many advantages for both independent contractors and those who employ them. If you are an independent contractor, you can take on many positions at once and work, or not work, as you want. If an employer takes on an employee as an independent contractor, then they don’t have to pay for benefits, income tax, Medicare and other things.
Laws Regarding Independent Contractors
Employers in the state of Missouri are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Workers compensation is mandated so that if an employee is injured while performing under the scope of their employment, the employer has the resources to pay for their injuries. When it comes to independent contractors, however, workers’ compensation benefits might not apply.
When you work as an independent contractor, then you should have some sort of written agreement about your working relationship. A written agreement should state the rights and responsibilities that the employer and the employee have in the working relationship.
But not all people who engage in an independent contractor relationship have written contractual agreements. If you are injured while on the job and your employer is claiming that they aren’t responsible because you are an independent contractor, and you made no such agreement, it is likely going to be your word against theirs.
Determining the Type of Employment
The ways that it can be determined whether you were indeed an independent contractor are through:
- Benefits structure – The Internal Revenue Service can investigate what type of benefits the employer has paid you. Things like sick leave, vacation pay, and pension contributions are all indicators that you were probably an employee, not an independent contractor.
- The length of employment – Another thing that can be used to determine your employment status is the length of time that you have worked for an employer. Independent contractors are typically transient, and employees work for a much longer time.
- How integral you were to the business – A St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer can use how integral you were to the overall operation of the business you worked for to determine whether it was more likely that you were an independent contractor or an employee. If you were the backbone of the entire operation, it is not likely that you were just an independent contractor.
- Training – If you received any on-the-job training, that would work against your employer’s argument that you were an independent contractor. Often one of the perks of being an independent contractor is that you are independent and can do things the way that you want. Training might indicate that you were actually an employee.
Is Your Employer Denying Your Benefits?
One way that an employer can try to deny an employee workers’ compensation coverage is by saying that they were an independent contractor. If you didn’t sign anything and can prove that you were an employee with the help of a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney, then your employer may be obligated to pay for any injuries you received while on the job.
Contact the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann to discuss your case at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form. We have been aggressively and effectively protecting the rights of injured workers for more than 20 years in and around the St. Louis, Missouri, area.