Understanding Your Rights as an Independent Contractor
Workers in New Jersey have certain legal rights, ensuring that they are protected against mistreatment in the workplace and afforded benefits as full-time employees. Since employees have certain protections, such as workers’ compensation coverage, employers may seek to limit their financial obligations and liabilities by attempting to classify their workers as “independent contractors.” Under NJ law, independent contractors generally have fewer rights and privileges than workers. However, it is important to understand that independent contractors still possess rights. If you have any questions about your classification as either an employee or an independent contractor, and about how this affects you, you should speak with a qualified employment law attorney immediately.
Differentiating Between Workers and Independent Contractors in NJ
Just because your boss tells you that you are an independent contractor does not mean that you are legally classified as one. Additionally, keep in mind that your job title does not automatically mean that you are, or are not, an independent contractor. In fact, most workers are officially considered employees, and thus afforded the benefits of employees, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor in order to minimize their legal obligations and reduce their exposure in the event of a workplace accident, you need a knowledgeable workers’ compensation and employment lawyer on your side. A workers’ comp lawyer can hold your employer accountable for their actions and ensure that you get the financial compensation you need, want, and deserve for your injuries. Moreover, employers who violate state and federal laws by intentionally misclassifying their workers could potentially be subject to significant monetary penalties.
New Jersey Independent Contractors Have Legal Rights
There are certain benefits to being classified as an independent contractor in New Jersey. For instance, independent contractors have more control over their hours and the work they do. As an independent contractor, you may be able to complete your work from home and outside of a regular nine-to-five workday schedule. All that really matters is that you complete your job-related tasks; how you go about completing them is unimportant.
As an independent contractor, you also have more freedom when it comes to paying your taxes. Your employer/client won’t be withholding taxes from your paycheck. However, this also means that you will be responsible for paying your own taxes to the government. Beyond that, you may be required to pay taxes quarterly instead of annually.
Another legal right afforded to independent contractors is the right to ownership of intellectual property. Since you essentially work for yourself, you should be able to maintain legal ownership of ideas you came up with or inventions you devised while working. The key is to make sure that you negotiate these kinds of IP rights in your work contract.
If you believe you are being taken advantage of by your employer, it may be necessary for you to speak with a knowledgeable employment law attorneys. The experienced employment lawyers at Lombardi & Lombardi, P.A. are prepared to help you explore your legal options. Contact us today for more information.