The Differences Between an Employee and an Independent Contractor

employee rights, employment law, labor law, independent contractor rights, independent contractorThroughout your professional career, you will likely hold many job titles; the majority of which will fall into two categories: employee or independent contractor. Dozens of state and federal laws protect workers who fall under the full-time employee status, but the same cannot be said for contractors. Below are some of the factors that can help you differentiate between the two job categories.

Materials Provided

Do you do all of your work on your own computer or does your company provide you with the necessary materials? Independent contractors supply their own equipment because they typically use it for various companies and projects. For example, an independent photographer owns his camera and uses it to take headshots for a new construction company. If the construction company purchases the camera and hires the photographer as a full-time member of the staff, he should most likely be categorized as an employee.

Hours Worked

When employers ask you to come into work at a specific time every single day, you’re probably an employee rather than a contract worker. Common law principles say if a worker controls his own hours, and can choose whether or not to work, they are arguably a contract worker. If you are asked to report to work sporadically or for a temporary period of time, you are arguably an independent contractor.


If you’re on a company’s payroll and are receiving consistent paychecks from only that company, you’re likely an employee who could be entitled to benefits. Independent contractors are typically compensated more sporadically because they work inconsistent hours and do not rely on one business for their sole source of income.

Dozens of major corporations have tried mislabeling full-time employees as contractors in order to avoid paying employee benefits, and state and federal taxes. If you are being improperly categorized as an independent contractor, contact Carter Law Firm immediately.

For more labor and employment news that can improve your working conditions, follow Carter Law Firm on Facebook and LinkedIn.

2 Responses

  1. Stanley Lubin

    While i agree with the above comments, there are more important differences that will assist in determining whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. They include whether an person can assign another to perform the services to be performed, whether the work performed is part of what the employing company normally does (performing plumbing work for a plumbing company as opposed to doing so for an accounting firm), whether the skill level of the worker is different from the other personnel and many more. examples. Gear in mind that if the employer is wrong, the stakes are quite high as the employing entity will have to pay overtime rates for all hours past 40 and reimburse the employee for all hours worked over 40. Any problems? call Lubin & Enoch with offices in Phoenix, Austin, Denver and DeMoine.

  2. Paul Botha

    Other obvious issues to help identify the differences are:

    Do you work for only one company or many? Does the company deduct your tax from your paycheck, or do you pay it? Do you invoice the company or get a paycheck? Are you subject to someone’s authority, or do you have a task to complete? Do you form a part of the organisation, or do you stand alone?

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