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Are you really a freelancer?

If you feel like your job is taking over your life, you would probably not be alone. Americans work hard. However, if you started a freelance career to make time for your family, pursue other interests or simply to take advantage of an opportunity in the marketplace, this feeling of being overworked may be the exact thing you were trying to get away from. 

The fact is that some freelancers take on just as much work as full-time employees do. However, there should still be a certain degree of freedom in your life if your employer classifies you as an independent contractor. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then you may want to consider the possibility that you are legally an employee.

The IRS is a good place to start when trying to define your employment status. Businesses have to pay certain taxes for employees that independent contractors pay by themselves. This is a lot of extra work, so some companies misclassify employees as freelancers to cut corners on bookkeeping labor.

The IRS has guidelines for making the choice of employment type. Independent contractors should have:

  • Control over their schedule
  • Power to make decisions about how they work
  • A relatively loose relationship with the people who pay them

If you work from project to project, then it is more likely that you are an independent contractor. The fact remains that some conventional employees also work short-term on projects or specific jobs. 

If you get to choose when you work, you may assume you are not a traditional employee. However, some companies assign freelance work in such a way that there is no reasonable alternative but to work during certain hours — a practice that could make it more likely for a judge to decide you are legally a traditional employee. 

As you can see, the legal side of determining whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee is a question of balance. The court would probably consider several points. Forming an argument around the facts is important, especially with the involvement of a powerful adversary, such as a large corporation.

You will probably need more than just a solid argument on your side. These companies have large legal resources, which can be intimidating to some people. It is important to approach the problem of getting the justice you deserve with tenacity and courage. Even though some big companies act like they are above the law, even the largest organizations often settle or receive court judgments against them when they violate workers' rights.

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