Although most people think of themselves as the employee and the company they work for as their employer, job classification is not so simple. An employee may work at the location of one business but be paid by another. The employee may work under a salary or be paid by the hour. An employee may contract through one company or do so independently.

There are a number of ways to classify an employee. Even if it may not seem like a big deal, the way a worker is classified can be vitally important to how they get paid, what minimum wage they are due, whether they are eligible for overtime or whether it is mandatory, and much more. Employee misclassification is a serious wage and hour violation, and Missouri is one of the now 13 states who have joined in the fight against misclassification.

Just this month, Louisiana joined into a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor to become number 13 in the states that are working hard to cut down on the instances of employee misclassification. Specifically, the partnerships are targeting those that are misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as something else.

Independent contractors are not owed the same benefits as other employees such as unemployment insurance, minimum wage, mandatory overtime compensation or even medical leave. A misclassification not only leaves an employee unprotected, but it is a violation of the law for an employer.

If you have been the subject of employment misclassification, discuss your individual situation with an attorney experienced in wage and hour claims. It is their job to know the laws and keep up with any legislative changes. They will help you obtain any compensation that you have been forced to go without.

Source: Risk and Insurance, “Louisiana signs on to put a stop to misclassification of employees,” March 5, 2012