The gig economy is fast becoming a major part of the United States economy, with Intuit estimating that the gig economy makes up approximately 34 percent of the American workforce. While this sector of the economy—made of independent contractors and freelancers working on short-term job assignments—may be growing exponentially, it has brought unique challenges.
In a gig economy, it is not always clear whether a worker is considered an employee or an independent contractor. Even the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics has had a hard time collecting data on the exact amount of independent contractors making a living this way. In the developing gig economy, this is an important question, because as the field progresses and grows, so too do many questions regarding workers’ rights.
Knowing your rights in the workplace is critical when working in a gig economy. If you have questions or concerns, a Charleston gig economy employee misclassification lawyer could explain your rights in the workplace. Furthermore, a dedicated gig economy attorney could advocate on your behalf if you were improperly classified as an independent contractor while working in such a role.
Employee Classification Laws in Charleston
Misclassifying employees is a major concern in Charleston and throughout the country, so much so that the United States Department of Labor has called misclassifying employees a serious problem for employees and employers in the gig economy. In such an economy, individuals may work on their own terms and set their own hours. However, this means it may not always be clear if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee since the lines are often blurred in a gig economy.
In Charleston, what makes someone an employee is not explicitly defined in any single statute. Instead, S.C. Code Ann. §41-27-230 states that the common law test should be used to determine the classification of a worker. Under this test, four factors determine the right of control: direct evidence of right or exercise of control, method of payment, furnishing of equipment, and right to fire.
What is an Independent Contractor?
Independent contractors are the backbone of the gig economy. According to the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, an independent contractor contracts to do a job according to his or her own methods, without being subject to the control of the employer, except as to the results of the work.
Importance of Being Properly Classified
It is critical for both workers and employers to have a clear idea of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. Generally, independent contractors are not entitled to certain workplace protections established by both state and federal law, including:
If someone has a question about their classification, they should reach out to a Charleston gig economy employee misclassification lawyer.
Effect of Misclassifying Employees on Workers’ Compensation
South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act, enumerated in S.C. Code Ann. §42-1-150, requires employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance in all private employment in which four or more employees are regularly employed in the same business or establishment.
Notably, however, employers are not required to provide workers’ compensation coverage to casual employees according to S.C. Code Ann. §42-1-360(1), which can broadly be understood as referring to independent contractors. This is a problem in the gig economy, as many employers seek to classify their employees as casual employees to avoid having to offer workers’ compensation benefits.
How a Charleston Gig Economy Employee Misclassification Attorney Could Help
If you believe your employer has misclassified your role in the workplace, contact an experienced Charleston gig economy employee misclassification lawyer today to discuss your rights. In the developing gig economy, it is important to have a lawyer who is keenly aware of workers’ rights and who could fight for your rights, so call today to speak with one about your case.