The law provides certain benefits to employees, including the right to be free from unlawful discrimination and the ability to collect unemployment insurance benefits. Individuals who are classified as "independent contractors" do not have such benefits. The law recognizes, however, that certain employers will classify certain workers as independent contractors in order to avoid the obligations of having an employee.
The Second Circuit, the federal appeals court for New York, has long held that the determination of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor focuses on the control that the company has over the "manner and means" of the worker. Even when there is a written contract that identifies the worker as an independent contractor, a court may still classify the individual as an employee. The court addressed the analysis that is to be used in the cases of Eisenberg v. Advance Relocation & Storage, Inc., 237 F.3d 111 (2d Cir. 2000) and Salamon v. Our Lady of Victory Hospital, 514 F.3d 217 (2d Cir. 2008).
Accordingly, just because a person is labeled as an independent contractor does not necessarily mean that he or she is not protected against discrimination.