With all the publicity lately about the new efforts by the state and federal governments to "crack down" on employers that misclassify employees as independent contractors, you might think that being an independent contractor is a dirty word.
Not so, according to Michael Gualtieri, who owns and operates ProCourier, Inc. and serves as president of the Messenger Courier Association of America.
In a column in this week’s Hartford Business Journal, Gualtieri says that any attempt to punish employers that legitimately use independent contractors would be devastating to his business:
By characterizing all of us that depend on a flexible workforce as abusers of the system who purposely “misclassify” workers, the state has the potential to destroy a lot of businesses. And, it does a tremendous disservice to the tens of thousands of businesses that rely on us to provide the flexibility, service and responsiveness that independent contractors offer us.
The point is this: Not all independent contractors are “misclassified” employees. It is a bad business decision for the state of Connecticut to wage some kind of war on every small business that relies on independent contractors to get the job done.
Gualtieri’s point is well taken though it remains to be seen whether Connecticut will be undertaking the kind of "war" he is fearful of. Sometimes, what makes for a nice press release gets lost along the way. Nevertheless, with tax dollars at stake, we may yet see a renewed emphasis to this area of law.
For employers that use independent contractors, now is the time to review those relationships. Make sure that you are in compliance and if you’re not, work with an attorney to get into compliance.