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Independent Contractor

Labor Relations

Congress and the states have enacted numerous laws geared toward protecting employees. The National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 152(3)) protects employees and union members from unfair bargaining practices; Title VII of the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 (42 U.S.C.A. § 2000 et seq.) protects employees from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (20 U.S.C.A. § 623) protects employees from age discrimination; the FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT (29 U.S.C.A. § 203) establishes MINIMUM WAGE and overtime standards; the EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT INCOME SECURITY ACT of 1974 (29 U.S.C.A. § 1002) ensures the security of employee retirement funds; and the OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT (29 U.S.C.A. § 652) protects employees from environmental work hazards. Most states also have unemployment and WORK-ERS' COMPENSATION laws, which obligate employers to pay, directly or indirectly, for medical treatment or lost wages, or both, for employees who are injured while at work or who lose their job. None of these laws protect independent contractors. And because compliance often comes at great expense, employers can significantly reduce their liability and increase their profit margin by hiring independent contractors rather than employees.

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