The Company Says I’m An Independent Contractor. Can I Get Overtime?
Employee misclassification costs the state of Texas millions of dollars each year. Employers who knowingly misclassify employees are also likely committing payroll and tax fraud. If you are paid “under the table” by your employer, your employer has also likely violated multiple laws.
If you are considered an “Independent Contractor” or a “1099” but are subject to an employer’s control (i.e., your boss tells you how to do your job, when to show up, how much to charge, gives you tools, and disciplines you) or you are dependent on your employer for work, you may be a misclassified employee, and may have legal rights and significant claims to significant amounts of unpaid overtime. Examples of often misclassified workers include legal assistant, oil field workers, technology workers, and software programmers.
Additionally, lawsuits are pending across the country against Uber, Lyft, Instacart for misclassification. If you work for one of these companies, you should contact an employment law attorney today to find out your rights.
Texas Law provides relatively weak protections for workers who are misclassified. However, you still have rights. Private, civil lawsuits under federal law provide strong protection for workers who are misclassified, and are the primary method of holding employers who are breaking this law accountable. If you were misclassified and worked more than 40 hours in any workweek, you may have a claim for unpaid overtime. If you have been illegally classified as an independent contractor by your employer, it is important that you file a lawsuit immediately, for two reasons:
- Timelines for these lawsuits are short; and
- Wage and Hour / Overtime / Misclassification / Minimum Wage lawsuits are the only way to ensure a level playing field among businesses (to avoid giving an unfair advantage to business that illegally fail to pay employees overtime and other required wages), and to avoid worker exploitation.
Similarly, if you were classified as an independent contractor and paid overtime, but are now being paid on salary and are being asked to do the same tasks and work overtime without additional pay, you may be entitled to compensation for that overtime work.
If you are an independent contract but think you may actually be an employee or you are salaried and are no longer being paid overtime like you used to be, you may be entitled to compensation and your rights may have been violated.