Independent contractors aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Employers don’t need to provide workers’ comp for contractors; and they don’t have to list those contractors as regular employees when reporting their staff numbers for workers’ comp purposes.
That part of the law is very clear. However, things get tricky when employers try to cut corners.
Sometimes an employer will list an employee as an independent contractor in order to save money on workers’ comp coverage. This practice is called “worker misclassification.”
Worker misclassification is a form of fraud. It’s actually so common that the state of Tennessee has a task force to oversee it.
The task force website has a number of resources available, including a form and hotline for reporting misclassification. (That hotline number is 1.888.243.7283.) They also provide a list on their website to help you figure out the difference between a contractor and employee.
Among other factors, contractors perform work for multiple customers. They set their own hours and provide their own tools to complete the work assigned to them. They have a separate business location and file self-employment taxes. They can’t quit a task easily if they’ve signed a contract to perform it.
Employees, on the other hand, work for one employer. That employer can set their hours for them and provide tools for the completion of their work. Employees accept a wage or salary. They can quit at any time.
It’s important for you to remember that an employer can’t just say whether you’re an employee or not. Your status as a worker is determined by the law.
If you’ve been injured on the job, our workers’ comp attorneys in Memphis may be able to help. If you have questions or want to get started receiving your workers’ comp benefits, contact us today.