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Beware if your boss calls you an independent contractor

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2016 | Workers' Compensation

Are you a seasonal employee in Illinois? Does your boss refer to you as an independent contractor or pay you cash under the table?

All business owners try to cut costs in one way or another. A popular way to reduce business expenses in Illinois is to pay seasonal workers on a cash basis or refer to them as “independent contractors.”

Summer jobs, such as landscaping, farm work or short-term construction, lend themselves to this type of fake employer-employee arrangement. It seems attractive to workers because they get all the cash in hand and can deal with taxes later. However, there is a downside.

What happens if you are injured at work?

Unfortunately, you can lose out if you are injured on the job. Your employer’s insurance company does not have to pay you workers’ compensation benefits if you are an independent contractor. Suddenly, you may face escalating medical bills you cannot afford and at a time when you are unable to work.

However, just because your boss says you are an independent contractor and not entitled to insurance benefits, that doesn’t make it true. Let a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer help you obtain benefits to which you are entitled.

Are you really an independent contractor?

In order to determine whether you are an employee or a contractor, your attorney will ask you some important questions, including:

  • How are you paid? If you receive cash or personal check payment, this may indicate that your employer is trying to avoid an insurance bill or payroll taxes by keeping you off the books.
  • Where and when do you do your work duties? Working designated hours and following specific routines and time schedules may be another indication that you are not an independent contractor. This may show that you are under the company’s control and should be treated as a regular employee.
  • Whose equipment is used? Independent contractors are generally individuals who are in business for themselves, and they would use their own tools. If you use tools and equipment that your boss owns, and you don’t bring your own to work each day, it is more likely that you are an employee, not an independent contractor.

There are a number of ways to determine if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits due to your work-related injury. At Bonifield & Rosenstengel, we will educate you about your options and help you determine the best way to obtain compensation for your losses.