If you work as an independent contractor in Florida, know that you have certain rights in the state. Knowing your right as an independent contractor is one of the things you need to be able to successfully navigate the competitive landscape of business and governance in Florida.
An independent contractor is a person who is classified as self-employed. He or she could be an engineer, a consultant, an accountant, a lawyer, or a person who supplies products or provides services to the government or organizations as agreed in their contractual arrangement.
To qualify as an independent contractor in Florida, you need to work as a self-employed person. As an independent contractor, you may decide to have a registered company or at least a legal business name, you may need professional licenses or certifications and also pay your taxes. Having said that, if you are an independent contractor in Florida, here are some of the rights you have.
My Rights as an Independent Contractor in Florida
An Independent Contractor in Florida Has the Right to Be Appropriately Classified
As an independent contractor in Florida, irrespective of the industry you are servicing, one of the major rights you have is the right to be appropriately classified. This also applies to all employees that work in Florida – they all have the right to be appropriately classified.
As an independent contractor, you may not enjoy most of the workplace rights employees usually enjoy, but you certainly have the right to be appropriately classified as an independent contractor.
In Florida, no organization or company has the right to tag you as an independent contractor in a bid to place a limit on your workplace rights. Your status as an independent contractor is strictly based on your business relationship with the organization or employer you are working with.
All Florida workers have the right to be properly classified. Please note that the bigger the influence exercised by an organization, the higher the probability that the person is a full-time employee of the organization as against being an independent contractor.
Inversely, the less influence an organization exercises over someone especially as it relates to their expectation of how they want the person to carry out their services, the higher the probability that the person is an independent contractor and the person can be legally classified without breaking the law.
An Independent Contractor Has Equal Rights as an Employee in Florida
Another major right an independent contractor has in Florida is that they have equal rights as full-time employees especially as it relates to how the state should treat them and the benefits they stand to gain from the state. Please note that when we say that an independent contractor has equal rights in Florida, it does not imply that they have the same rights as full-time employees.
This is so because there are some workplace rights that are only meant for full-time employees. For example, an independent contractor does not enjoy overtime benefits, right to minimum wage, anti-discrimination protection rights, employment benefits et al.
Your Working Relations Will Be Defined Informally or Formally on Your Contract Document
Lastly, another important right that an independent contractor has in Florida is the right to demand that your working relationship with any organization should be formally defined on your contract document. This is important because, in Florida, the right you have as an independent contractor is not derived from the state’s employment law but from what is known as contract law.
The implication of this is that your relationship with the organization is not seen as an employee-employer relationship but rather as a commercial or business relationship.
Please note that the above applies irrespective of the fact that you have or do not have any formal written contract from the organization. Without a formal written contract, an individual can still legally work as an independent contractor in Florida, and it might interest you to note that a substantial percentage of gig workers in Florida don’t have any formal contract.
It is important to note that aside from the basic rights stated above, you have other rights as an independent contractor operating in Florida.
For example, it is the right of an organization or employer of labor to treat every individual in a friendly and respectful manner and independent contractors are not exempted from this right. So also, as an independent contractor in Florida, you have the right to sue any organization that breaches your contract agreement with them.