chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
March 18, 2013

The Law and Your Job

How Law Affects the Workplace

What is the distinction between employees and independent contractors?

Generally, if an employer controls, directs and supervises the individual in the performance of his or her work, that individual is considered to be an employee. But, if the employer merely specifies the result to be achieved, and the individual uses personal judgment and discretion in the means used to achieve that result, then that individual is considered to be an independent contractor. Other indications of employee status are payment on a salary or wage basis rather than a per project basis and the furnishing by the employer of the equipment used in the performance of the work.

For example, ABC Company hires Jill to construct a fence around its property, and agrees to pay her $1000. ABC does not supervise Jill's work; it does not tell her how to build the fence or what time to report to work. The company cares only about getting the fence built. Jill's income is based on the profits she makes on the job after subtracting for the cost of buying the fencing materials. Her relationship with ABC ends when she finishes the job. Jill is an independent contractor, not the employee of ABC.

>>Is there a single law of the workplace?
>>Does it matter if a person works for a government instead of a private employer?
>>What is the legal significance of a union contract?
>>Do workplace laws cover independent contractors?
>>What is the distinction between employees and independent contractors?
>>What about temporary workers?
>>What about part-time workers?

Practical Law Home | The Law & Your Job Home | *How Law Affects the Workplace*
Major Federal Laws | Sexual Harassment