Employer shaking hands with contractor

Are You An Employee Or Independent Contractor?

Over the past decade or so, the biggest trend in the work world has been the rise of the independent contractor. A big driver of this has been the development of new technology that allows jobs to be sliced and diced into smaller tasks people are willing to do in their free time and other people and companies are willing to pay for piecemeal. 

Unfortunately, there is a hidden cost to this newfound way to work. Companies are skirting tax and employment laws, and some workers are missing out on benefits they deserve. These missing tax dollars, and the corresponding strain placed on the social safety net when gig workers retire or fall on hard times, have policymakers calling for reform. 

While we wait to see what changes are made to employment laws in response to the rise of the gig economy, there is a push to enforce existing laws that classify workers as employees and mandate their employers pay employment taxes and provide their workers certain benefits. At Vaziri Law LLC, we represent Chicago area workers who believe they are being wrongfully treated as independent contractors. We help them prove they should actually be classified as employees and given the wages and workplace benefits they deserve. 

The Rise of the Gig Economy 

A lot of workers enjoy taking on side hustles, freelance work, or being classified as an independent contractor because it gives them flexibility they do not have in a traditional 9 to 5 job. 

Companies have figured out they can save money by having work done this way because it allows their employees to focus on more complicated tasks and often saves them money they would otherwise have to pay in employment taxes and benefits. 

But problems arise when employers misclassify workers as independent contractors in order to avoid:

  • Paying minimum wage and overtime;
  • Meeting their Social Security​ obligations;
  • Paying unemployment benefits or unemployment insurance;
  • Complying with Illinois’ Workers’ Compensation law; or
  • Withholding required taxes.

This is not fair to the worker who is losing out on benefits he or she deserves, and it is not fair to other taxpayers who have to pick up the slack when a company shirks their responsibilities. 

When a worker in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois believes he or she has been improperly classified as an independent contractor and is missing out on employment benefits, the experienced employment law team at Vaziri Law LLC is here to help

Illinois Employment Classification Test 

Illinois has established a test to determine if a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Under current law, all workers are considered employees UNLESS:

  • The worker has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of his or her work, both under his contract ​of service and in fact; and
  • His or her work is either outside the usual course of the business for which such work is performed or that such service is performed outside of all the places of business of the enterprise for which such service is performed; and
  • The worker is engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business.

Any company that wants to classify workers as independent contractors must be able to prove the work supposed independent contractors are doing meets all of these factors. If they cannot prove their workers are not employees, they must treat them as employees. 

It is important to note that workers cannot give up their employee status and agree to work as independent contractors. And it is not a worker’s responsibility to figure out if he or she should be classified as an independent contractor or employee. Companies are the ones who are supposed to be ensuring compliance with employment laws and treating their employees fairly. 

Fueled by Passion. Built on Trust. 

Too many Chicago area employers are more concerned about the bottom line than they are with treating their workers right. They illegally classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and providing the wages and benefits their workers have earned. 

Vaziri Law LLC helps workers who are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous employers get the compensation they deserve and enforce their employment rights. Anyone with questions about their employment status should contact our office to set up a meeting.