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What are my rights & remedies if I have been misclassified as an independent contractor rather than an employee?

Fort Worth, TX |

I've been an "independent petroleum landman" working for 1 broker for the past 5 years. I receive a 1099 and pay self employment taxes. I have NO benefits. Time off is unpaid. I have a contract that specifically states "...the hours you are to work on any given day will be entirely under your control..." The broker is now insisting that I work in their office, during their office hours & threatening to fire those of us that do not comply with these terms. Does my broker have the right to fire me if I refuse to work under those terms? Do those terms change the relationship to employer/employee? If so, what are my rights to insist on benefits and/or back pay for the self employment taxes I have paid the past 5 years?

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

You are likely an employee, at least under the tests espoused by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. You can review those tests at the following web links:

Texas Workforce Commission Test for independent contractor:
http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/appx_e_twc_ic_test.html

Internal Revenue Service test for independent contractor:
http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/appx_d_irs_ic_test.html

Texas is an employment at will state. That means that an employer can fire for any reason or no reason at all, just not an illegal reason (such as for filing a worker's compensation claim).

Texas has a Payday Law that requires employers to pay employees. You can review a summary of the law at the Texas Workforce Commission's web site. The link is:

Texas Payday Law summary:
http://www.twc.state.tx.us/ui/lablaw/pdlsum.html

If the money is enough, you may consider retaining an employment attorney to help you collect the back pay and tax contributions.

Good luck.

Hope this helps. If you think this post was a good answer, please click the “good answer” button below and/or designate my answer as the best answer. Thanks.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, Mr. Erikson. I appreciate you providing me the links and look forward to reviewing the information. I have marked your answer as "Marked as helpful" as I do not see a best answer button.