An important part of enforcing your rights as a worker is understanding what the law says about your identification. Specifically, it is crucial to know whether you are considered an employee or an independent contractor. This distinction makes a big difference when determining fair pay, receipt of benefits, or rights after termination.
Unfortunately, some workplaces take advantage of employees by intentionally misclassifying them. By misclassifying employees, employers may pay less in wages, deny overtime rates, or circumvent laws that require them to provide benefits. When this occurs, workers have the right to sue their employers to demand proper reclassification, back pay, and the benefits they are entitled to receive.
If you are in this situation, an Elyria employee misclassification lawyer can provide invaluable support. At Tittle & Perlmuter, our dedicated attorneys can explain your legal rights and take the necessary steps to protect them.
An employee is someone who acts solely at the discretion of an employer. If an employer provides strict training programs and the tools required for workers to do their jobs and dictates when and where work is performed, the worker is an “employee” as defined by Ohio law and the FLSA.
By contrast, an independent contractor has more freedom. Independent contractors work when they wish and are responsible for obtaining their tools, but may still need to adhere to deadlines or quality control standards.
This distinction is important in considering the benefits available to the worker. Employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage for employees and pay the governing minimum wage for hourly work. The same is not required for independent contractors under the traditional definition, however. If you believe you have been misclassified, an experienced attorney can help you identify your true status under state law and determine which benefits you should receive.
Even if you are an “employee,” state and federal laws still differentiate between hourly and salaried workers. By default, every worker is paid hourly and entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay as described in Ohio Revised Code § 4111.03. Salaried employees, however, are paid a set rate of pay and may not be entitled to additional compensation for overtime hours.
There are a few key factors to consider when determining whether an employee is covered by minimum wage and overtime laws. If a worker makes tips or commission, employers may credit those earnings toward their minimum wage obligations. Employees may also make below minimum wage if they work for a farm or small business. Finally, salaried employees in a professional setting, such as attorneys or architects, are typically exempt from overtime pay requirements.
Minimum wage and overtime exemptions are complex and often very fact-specific. If you believe you’ve been improperly exempted from minimum wage and overtime requirements, an experienced attorney can provide valuable information and guidance to help you navigate your claim.
Determining your status as a worker is key to understanding your rights in the workplace. Employees enjoy significantly more protections than independent contractors, as do hourly workers over those who earn commissions or a set salary.
State and federal laws allow workers to recover wages have been illegally withheld from their employers. The Elyria employee misclassification lawyers at Tittle and Perlmuter are experienced in handling these claims and can help assess your damages and demand proper compensation in court. Contact our legal team today to discuss your situation.