Independent Contractor Agreements

Independent contractors must not be treated like employees because such treatment can expose a business to additional risks and consequences consistent with hiring employees. Accordingly, businesses should use contracts tailored to independent contractors.

A common mistake of businesses is to attempt to adjust the clauses of an employement agreement to fit a contractor. However, state laws treat contractors quite differently from employees. Using an agreement in accordance with the state laws can help a business set the proper expectations for a contractor and mitigate certain risks of the contractor being treated or considered an employee under the law.

What can be confusing to businesses is that the term "independent contract" is not clearly defined under the law. There are factors that are considered by the government or a court to determine whether a worker will be treated as an independent contractor or an employee - none of which are the name a business assigns to a worker. Accordingly, the factors serve to determine how much control a business has over the worker.

Although an agreement between an employer and a worker will not ultimately determine how a worker is treated, an agreement should be used to outline the expectations that complement the factors that could be used in such a determination. Furhter, the business should use care to ensure compliance with the agreement even if a worker may be agreeable to be more flexible. Kirkpatrick Law can draft an agreement for an independent contractor that will address the factors specific to the work to be performed to help a business draw a brighter line between its employees and contractors.

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