Employee or Independent Contractor?

Contractors Can Be Unprotected Resources

employee being mistreated

From the Huffington Post — S. L. Young writes about the perils contractors, especially independent contractors, face in the workplace.  He writes:

Most employers have well-defined human resource policies and procedures to resolve employment issues. In most cases, an adverse employee action will not occur unless an employer’s processes are followed to address any concern(s); although, this protection isn’t always available for or utilized by contract resources — especially, independent contractors.

Contract employees are sometimes overworked and/or mistreated because these resources can be apprehensive or afraid to complain about any mistreatment to maintain their job and income. As a result, contractors sometimes deal with issues that wouldn’t be tolerated if the individual was an employee. This process gap can lead to contractors being unprotected resources.

For example, contractors can be disciplined or terminated without a reason, documentation, or options for recourse. Some might argue that these outcomes can happen to employees also; however, in many organizations employment actions will (usually) not occur without adherence to documented operating standards.

On one occasion, I witnessed a contractor be terminated because the individual openly but respectfully disagreed with a senior employee who had authority to terminate the contract. This contractor was released without any details, documentation, or delay. If this contractor was an employee, then the company’s human resource policies would – more likely than not – be followed prior to their termination.

Another example is a contractor who was bullied by an employee. If the contractor was an employee, then there would be additional opportunities to respond to the attacks — with the full protection of the organization’s policies and procedures.

Unfortunately, contractors don’t normally have equal standing; furthermore, these resources must be careful to not create any workplace issues (minor or not) that could place their jobs in jeopardy. Conversely, an employee who experiences workplace issues (generally) has greater protections and opportunities to rebut any inappropriate behavior by using their company’s human resource operating standards….”

Mr. Young outlines key steps that companies should take to make sure independent contractors aren’t mistreated.  Employees are protected by employment laws which do not apply to independent contractors — one reason that government agencies scrutinize the classification of workers as employees or independent contractors.

Read the fulll story at Contractors Can Be Unprotected Resources

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