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Do contractors have the same rights as employees? Part I

Contractors are typically hired by a company to work on a project for a relatively short period of time. Occasionally, however, a contractor can end up working for a company for months or even years. When that happens, the line between "contractor" and "employee" can easily become blurred. So before determining your employee rights, it is important to understand whether you are truly a contract worker or an actual employee.

This post will cover some key differences between contract workers and employees.

A contractor has more independence when performing tasks: an employee is typically told how, when and why a job should be done. A contractor typically makes his or her own decisions about how to accomplish a given task. While a contractor may need or seek input from his or her client, the client does not have complete authority over how the task is accomplished.

A contractor typically sets his or her own hours. Continuing with the website example, a contractor may feel that 2 a.m. is the ideal time to work on website design. While he or she will likely need to meet with the client during standard business hours to receive feedback, the contractor is relatively free to work on the project during the hours best suited to his needs. An employee, by contrast, would be expected to be in the office and working during normal business hours. A contractor usually has multiple clients: an independent website designer may, at any given time, be designing websites for numerous companies. If that website designer was an employee, however, he would be expected to focus solely on designing (and possibly maintaining) the website only for that one company.

A contractor usually has multiple clients. An independent website designer may, at any given time, be designing websites for numerous companies. If that website designer was an employee, however, he would be expected to focus solely on designing (and possibly maintaining) the website only for that one company.

Whether you are an employee or a contractor, if you need legal services to defend your rights, you may want to speak with an employment attorney.

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