1. How Much Control Do You Have Over How You Complete Your Work?
One of the major tell-tale signs that you are misclassified as an independent contractor is the degree of control over how you complete your work.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, you could be considered an employee if an employer tells you how to and how not to complete a job and where and when you can complete it. The micromanagement might annoy you on a basic level, but it could also fundamentally be a relationship-changing interaction under law.
Furthermore, if you’re hired for a job as an independent contractor, then you are generally allowed to hire subcontractors to help you complete the job and you’re not typically bound by things like a requirement to work in an office on a 9-5 schedule. You also generally are allowed to have multiple clients.
Essentially, if you’re working “with” a company and they have an outsized control over how you get a job done, then perhaps what you’re really doing is working “for” the company. If you’re really an employee, then you have rights.
2. Are You Required to Attend Meetings or Undergo Particular Types of Training?
One of the other signs that you should be classified as an employee instead of an independent contractor is if your “client” requires you to attend training or attend regular meetings.
The concept of “training” gives the impression that the company must teach an independent contractor how to do a job or project. As mentioned above, when a company starts telling a contractor how to do a job, then they’re changing the nature of the relationship.
There’s nothing untoward about a contractor meeting with a client to go over the details of a job, but if you’re required to regularly attend meetings with a company’s team there’s a chance you’re misclassified.
3. Do You Supply Your Own Equipment and/or Tools to Complete a Job?
Independent contractors supply their own tools, whether it’s computers and paper or machinery or vehicles. This is a pretty standard aspect of that classification.
If you are working for a company that requires you to use their equipment to finish a job, then perhaps you’re not such an independent contractor afterall. Generally, only employers provide all the supplies an employee needs to get the job done.
An equipment-use requirement can sometimes come hand-in-hand with the aforementioned over-managing, as part of an overall maximal exertion of control that affects your independent status.