In recent years, the so-called gig economy has expanded considerably. Instead of seeking full-time work as an employee, people across Texas are instead choosing to be self-employed or independent contractors.
However, this shift has exacerbated problems with worker classification. The line between employee and gig worker, or independent contractor, is fuzzier than ever and this puts workers' rights and compensation in jeopardy. Below, we explain why this happens and what you as a worker can do to protect yourself.
Misclassification Affects Your Rights
If you are an employee, you are protected by numerous state and federal laws that do not cover independent contractors. You may be entitled to overtime pay, job-protected leave and healthcare benefits. However, employers may misclassify an employee as a contractor in an effort to avoid complying with these laws.
Misclassification Affects Your Wages
Misclassification also has a monetary impact on workers. As we mentioned above, if an employer wrongly classifies you as a contractor, you can miss out on overtime pay and other financial benefits. On the other hand, if an employer wrongly classifies you as an employee, then you could wind up facing serious penalties for not paying taxes that you assumed the employer was paying.
How You Can Protect Yourself, Your Rights and Your Income
In order to avoid the many ramifications of misclassification, workers across Houston would be wise to double-check their status. If you are a contractor, be sure you are paying your taxes. Additionally, take stock of your role and expectations, and ensure you are not being treated as an employee.
If you are an employee, review your wages and make certain they are in line with your working hours. Examine your work schedule, wage withholdings and benefits to confirm that your employer is complying with state and federal laws regarding employee rights.
Should you feel you have grounds to file a claim citing misclassification, then you can discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney. With legal guidance, you can address wrongful worker classification and pursue legal remedies for damages you suffered as a result of misclassification.