Maryland Independent Contractor Lawyer

In Maryland, most workers are employees, as opposed to independent contractors. In order for a worker to be an independent contractor, they must meet certain criteria.

Independent contractor status comes with benefits and detriments – both for employers and for employees. For example, employees are entitled to unemployment benefits, as well as workers’ compensation benefits. Independent contractors, however, are not entitled to those benefits.

A Maryland independent contractor lawyer could determine your status and can explain the pros and cons of both employee status and independent contractor status. Reach out to an experienced FLSA attorney today.

Independent Contractor Test in Maryland

Maryland uses a test consisting of several factors to determine whether or not a particular worker classifies as an independent contractor. Maryland’s independent contractor test is very fact-specific and examines the totality of the circumstances available.

The test also focuses on each party’s rights and responsibilities, as well as the degree of control which each party exerts over the other. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) offers the following guidance for determining a worker’s potential independent contractor status:

  • Whether the worker owns their own business which performs the same type of work as the work involved
  • Whether the worker performs certain duties, which are beyond the general scope of business performed by the company or individual who has retained the worker
  • Whether the person hiring the worker has the authority to control or direct the worker’s performance, such as by setting the worker’s hours or compensation

Even in cases when a worker signs a written agreement, that fact alone does not necessarily mean that the worker is an independent contractor. Rather, the test looks to the relationship between the parties and their behavior toward one another to determine if a worker is truly an independent contractor.

When a worker’s employment classification is at issue in a case, the employer has the duty of proving that the independent contractor or employee classification is correct. The employer must be able to point to certain facts that substantiate the worker’s true status.

Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors

In some instances, employers will misclassify their workers as independent contractors. This practice is especially prevalent in the construction industry. Employers sometimes misclassify these workers in an attempt to escape the tax and insurance costs associated with paying employees.

Employers who misclassify their workers can be subject to serious legal penalties. Potential penalties can include civil fines and delinquent payment assessments (i.e. for unpaid unemployment contributions during the time they misclassified a worker).

The State issues these delinquent payment assessments for each employee, which the employer misclassifies. If the employer fails to make the required payment within a 45-day period, the State will charge interest. The Department of Labor can also assess additional costs if an employer knowingly misclassifies a worker as an independent contractor, in order to escape taxes and other financial burdens. For more information, contact an independent contractor lawyer in Maryland.

Talk to a Maryland Independent Contractor Attorney Today

There are certain benefits and detriments associated with independent contractor status in Maryland. Independent contractors, for example, are not entitled to receive overtime benefits, unemployment benefits, or workers’ compensation benefits.

A Maryland independent contractor lawyer could examine your unique employment circumstances and determine whether you are truly an employee or an independent contractor. A lawyer can also determine what, if any, benefits you are entitled to under the law.