With the number of independent contractors expanding each year, millions of American workers are without employment protections. Several different factors distinguish employees from independent contractors, generally focusing on the extent of control a company has over how a worker performs his or her job, including how the worker is paid, whether benefits are provided, and who provides tools and supplies.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides basic workplace protections to most employees – such as ensuring they receive at least minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 in any work week. Further Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964, as well as other federal legislation, protects against various forms of employment discrimination. However, federal legislation does not provide independent contractors the same protections. As a result, they may be subjected to unfair, predatory and discriminatory work practices without similar recourse.
New legislation introduced in Congress seeks to amend current U.S. employment discrimination law to treat independent contractors similar to employees and afford them similar rights. The Protecting Independent Contractors From Discrimination Act of 2019 (H.R. 4235) would protect workers against various forms of employment discrimination, and also amend the FLSA to provide that independent workers are covered by the same minimum wage and overtime protections as employees.
Whether this legislation will pass is unknown, however it is a significant step in acknowledging the need for greater protections for the millions of Americans working as independent contractors.
For more information or if you have any wage and hour question, please contact the dedicated Georgia employment lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.