When we get a call about someone getting hurt at work, one of the first questions we have to ask is whether or not you are, by law, an employee. This question often confuses people, because they do work that gets them paid. Unfortunately, just because you get paid doesn’t automatically mean that you are an employee. While you may technically be “employed” by a company to produce either items or a service, you might not be an employee by the definition of the law. You may, in fact, be contracted through a company instead. An employee is, by definition, someone who only works for one company at a time. While you may have multiple jobs, you most likely have to travel to each one separately and have W-2 tax papers from each one as well. An employee will also work hours that are decided by the employer. Many employees are welcomed and even encouraged to join a union. They are also normally able to apply for things like benefits through work such as healthcare or retirement plans if the job is full time and can collect unemployment if they are released for certain reasons. An employee is also protected by federal laws which set a minimum wage and overtime protections. Alternatively, an independent contractor can work for multiple companies at a time doing specialized work. They will often work from home or a remote location of their choice, and can work any hours they choose as long as deadlines are met. There are no unions that are set up for independent contractors and you cannot receive unemployment if you are let go. There are also no employment benefits such as health insurance for an independent contractor. There is no protection that assures they receive minimum wage and there is no overtime pay. Also they will get a different tax document, known as a 1099-MISC. The difference that we are most concerned is that independent contractors are not eligible for worker’s compensation. While an employee can apply for worker’s compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job, an independent contractor does not have this ability. If they are injured, the treatment costs fall completely on them and no compensation will be provided. Are you an independent contractor or an employee? If you are unsure, check with those you work for. It can mean the difference between paying for treatment yourself and calling Collier for help!