What Rights Do Independent Contractors Have In Florida?
Employers in Florida and throughout the United States are increasingly relying on the workplace contributions of independent contractors. The Pew Research Center finds that approximately ten percent of people nationwide currently work or recently worked as an independent contractor. You may be wondering: Do independent contractors have rights in Florida? The answer is ‘yes’—but, unfortunately, they have far fewer rights than employees. In this article, you will find an overview of the most important things that you need to know about independent contractors and employment law rights in Florida.
- You Do Not Have the Same Rights as an Employee
First and foremost, it is important to emphasize that independent contractors do not have the same rights as employees in Florida. Indeed, most of your rights in the workplace arise from your status as an “employee.” In fact, independent contractors/gig workers in Florida lack the following types of workplace protections:
- Minimum wage rights;
- Overtime rights;
- Most employment benefits; and
- Many anti-discrimination protections.
- Your Relationship Arises from Your Contract (Formal or Informal)
As their name suggests, your rights as an independent contractor in Florida are derived primarily from contract law—not from employment law. In other words, your relationship with the company that you are working for is not considered to be an employment relationship, at least not officially for the purposes of the law. Instead, it is considered to be a commercial relationship governed by the principles of voluntary contract law. This is true whether or not you have a formal written contract in place. You can still work as an independent contractor in Florida even without a formal contract. In fact, a significant portion of gig workers in Florida lack a written agreement.
- You Have the Right to Be Properly Classified
While independent contractors lack most of the workplace rights of employees, you do have the right to be properly classified as an independent contractor or an employee. A company or organization in Florida cannot merely decide to label you as an independent contractor in order to limit your workplace rights. Whether you are an independent contractor is determined based on the actual nature of your relationship with the employer. All Florida workers have the right to be properly classified.
Florida uses the ‘right of control’ test to determine if a person should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. The key factor that courts will consider is the extent that an employer has the right to control when/how an individual does a job. The greater control exercised by a company, the more likely someone is to be an employee. The less control over how work gets done, the more likely it is that an individual is properly classified as an independent contractor.
Get Help From an Employment Law Attorney in Florida
Everyone should be treated fairly in the workplace, including those classified as independent contractors. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the legal rights of independent contractors, an experienced Florida employment law attorney can help.