Many people enjoy the freedom and flexibility that can come with being an independent contractor. In a sense, it is like being your own boss, which can have other benefits as well. However, being an independent contractor can stand apart from being a regular employee in one very negative way: there may be no formal legal protection against workplace discrimination.
There are millions of Americans who work as independent contractors and in other independent categories, such as consulting for temporary agencies, temporary workers, freelance positions, and more. The law may not provide discrimination protection for these workers related to sexual harassment, as well as discrimination based on age, disability, race, gender, and more.
In addition to the lack of legal discrimination protection, independent contractors may lack other benefits that regular employees enjoy, including:
- Employees may receive health insurance, paid vacation days, 401(k) benefits, and more. Independent contractors may not receive any of these benefits.
- Independent contractors usually must submit an invoice for their work, and their pay is for a total amount that ends on a designated date, or when the job is complete. Regular employees are salaried or paid on an hourly basis, with a set schedule for payment.
- Regular employees are usually hired by human resource staff, who issue a W-2 tax form. Independent contractors must complete a W-9 tax form.
Sometimes, however, the lines are blurred between regular hiring and working as an independent contractor, and someone may not realize their designation. The role is often defined by the degree of control the employer has over their workers. Therefore, anti-discrimination protection may apply to an independent contractor depending on the nature of the work.
If you believe that you may be facing sexual harassment or discrimination at work, even if you are an independent contractor, please call the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999, or contact us online for a free consultation. We can help make the best decisions and will work fiercely to uphold your workplace rights. Our office is centrally located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.