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Understanding the rights of independent contractors

As an employer, you may occasionally need to hire independent contractors in order to get the job done. While this can be an economically efficient way to bring in extra resources for a particular project, it is important to understand the intricacies of employee classification under the law, and how you can work to avoid any legal breaches and litigation as a result.

The most key point to note is that independent contractors are not the same as employees under the law; therefore, they should never be treated as such. It is always best to create a written agreement when initiating a working relationship with an independent contractor so that you know where rights and responsibilities stand.

What are the legal rights of independent contractors?

When an independent contractor starts working for a company, the company legally becomes their customer rather than their employer. This means that independent contractors set the terms of their work, for example they can suggest the time frame in which the work should be done as well as what the ideal outcome should be.

It is important that employers do not make the mistake of misclassifying their workers. This is a common issue and one that can land employers in trouble with the law. Many employees become misclassified as contractors, and as a result they are denied many employee-specific rights such as workers' compensation.

If you are an employer and you are concerned about the rights that your independent contractors have, it is important that you conduct thorough research and make sure that you are never in doubt about the law.

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