Independent Contractors Beware: You Just May Be an Employee Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Employers are increasingly utilizing freelance workers to keep down personnel costs. A 2014 survey by the Freelancers Union reported that more than 53 million Americans (1/3 of the entire workforce) are currently doing freelance work. 


Freelancers are generally classified as independent contractors, which relieves employers of the obligation to pay overtime, employment taxes and workers’ compensation benefits. However, the IRS and Georgia Department of Labor are cracking down on employers who label workers as independent contractors to save money, but treat them like employees who are entitled to workers’ compensation and other employment benefits.


How Do I Know if I May Be Misclassified as an Independent Contractor Rather Than an Employee Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?


Independent contractors in Georgia must be able to perform their work free from control or direction from the employer and must be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business. Georgia courts will consider the following when determining whether a worker is free from the control of an employer:


  1. Is the worker subject to territorial or geographic restrictions?
  2. Is the worker prohibited from holding other employment while working for the employer?
  3. Must the worker perform a required number of hours each week?
  4. Is the worker free to accept or reject work from the employer?
  5. Can the worker set his or her own schedule?


If your response to any of the first three questions is “yes” or to either of the last two questions is “no,” you may very well be an employee eligible for workers’ compensation benefits rather than an independent contractor.


If you are a freelancer injured during the course of employment and need help determining whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, The Campbell Law Practice, LLC can help evaluate the circumstances of your case, clarify your rights under Georgia law, and maximize your benefits recovery.


This update has been prepared by The Campbell Law Practice for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.