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My employer called me back from a layoff and told me I am a contract employee now - NO BENEFIT'S - can they do this?

Olean, NY |

Have worked at this manufacture facility for 6 years, was laid off before from this company and nothing was changed, What is the real definition of a contract employee in New York State?

I have always worked full time for this company and the other full time employee's that were laid off along with me got the same treatment upon returning but yet the one's that were not laid off can keep collecting vacation time,paid holiday's and other benefit's. Was hired back from layoff still full time . Discriminatory?

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Attorney answers 1


Unless I'm missing something, I'm not sure on what grounds you would seek to file a charge with the EEOC. You haven't indicated any apparent discriminatory motive behind your former employer's actions. From what you have said, you were an at-will employee and they laid you off. There's nothing illegal about that. If they laid you off based upon a disability (or perceived disability), your race, your sex or your age (or they laid off a whole group of people who shared a certain trait and they included you in that group) then you you would have a reason to file an EEOC charge. Other than that, I'm not so sure.

When they hired you back, did they attempt to "classify" you as an independent contractor? If that is the case, there is nothing inherently illegal about that. The issue arises of whether you really are, in fact, an independent contractor. Just because an employer calls you that doesn't mean you are that. There are legal tests that a court applies to determine if you were, in fact, an employee or independent contractor. These factors largely involve inquiring about to what extent the "employer" controlled your work (told you when to arrive or leave) and to what extent they provided you with the instrumentalities of your job. These distinctions largely impact eligibility for unemployment insurance or benefits and they determine who is liable for taxes (particularly FICA).