Overtime and Independent Contractors


A trick employers use to commit wage theft is to make their workers sign independent contractor agreements. The actual working relationship, not signing a piece a paper, determines whether a worker is an employee. Generally, an independent contractor works for more than one company at a time and controls his own work.

Independent contractors may have legal recourse through a wage and hour lawsuit against their employer.

The fact that a worker is called an independent contractor should have no bearing on whether overtime pay is permitted and/or required. The nature of the work and the relationship with the employer will determine whether overtime pay is required. In some cases, employers have intentionally mislabeled employees as independent contractors to avoid paying any overtime wages.

Can independent contractors be compensated for overtime?

If your boss gives you a 1099 form instead of a W-2 form you could still be entitled to overtime pay. The label of “independent contractor” should not bear any weight on whether you receive overtime or not; however, the relationship you have with your boss and the nature of your duties does matter. A qualified lawyer educated in overtime law can assist you in this type of situation.  

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