Can They Do That?

Your Money

March 21, 2004|By Carrie Mason-Draffen

I work as an independent contractor at a company. In August 2002, the firm began experiencing cash flow problems. I'm still trying to collect thousands of dollars it owes me.

What rights do I have? It seems I am owed too much to file in small-claims court.

Unfortunately, labor laws don't cover independent contractors. However, it wouldn't hurt to call the Internal Revenue Service to determine if you are truly an independent contractor or an employee. Staff members are covered by labor laws and can file a complaint with a state or federal agency.

The IRS looks at a number of factors to determine if independent contractors are properly classified. Those factors include whether the company told them when and where to work and with what. Call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

If you are a bona fide independent, your only other recourse is to seek an attorney.

Carrie Mason-Draffen is a columnist for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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