Are Wages to Independent Contractors Subject to Garnishment?


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Persons that work for themselves are considered independent contractors even if they are employed within the building of a company. These individuals are not considered employees and may not be subject to various regulations or stipulations, and this means that numerous aspects do not apply to these persons as they would a standard employee.

If someone has been hired as an independent contractor, this means he or she has been working for himself or herself. Paperwork would be filled out differently than the standard employee, and the benefits and amenities that are usually provided may not in usual circumstances be given to these persons. There are many other stipulations that apply such as an exemption of garnishments. Because these individuals are not employees of the company, their wages are not subject to garnishments for loans or similar items. However, these actions may occur if the person has been classified incorrectly. This would mean that the business has places a classification of employee or non-exempt.

It is crucial for a company to classify employees and independent contractors correctly. If someone has been given the identification as a non-exempt worker, this could lead to penalties and damages if the person should be an exempt laborer. This may mean more individuals are not classified correctly within the company. An assessment of persons may need to be completed by an independent source. And, the worker that has been harmed in this manner could be owed monetary damages for the incident. His or her information may need to be adjusted with an update as an exempt worker within the company.

Wage Garnishments Explained

When an independent contractor has a working relationship with a company, he or she does not have the common employee-employer association. This means that any judgments or garnishments may not be applied to the individual. Wages are considered a type of compensation provided by an employer to workers within the company. These are non-exempt classified employees. However, the ultimate definition of an employee depends upon the state laws and what is considered an actual employee. This means that is must be clear if the person is an independent contractor of an employee of a company. Without this distinction, the matter may not be cleared up.

Independent contractors are not subject to garnishments because they are not employees, and their wages are not standard. The classification often depends heavily on how much control and independence the individual has within the job. Some factors may apply to make this determination. If the worker is able to control the hours he or she works, where and when the job is performed, is responsible for his or her own taxes and any other involved expenses and may have autonomy, he or she may be deemed an independent contractor. Reimbursement should not come from the company for costs of tools, equipment, driving times and other matters. And taxes are not usually withheld from independent contractors.

Non-Employees and Legal Help

To be considered a non-employee working for a company, this means the individual should be performing job duties within a certain industry. Many of these persons are freelancers. This could be photographers, musicians, artists, hair stylists, works with clay, and similar persons. Other may include truck drivers working for themselves, those with commission-only pay, real estate agents, plumbers, certain experts and general contractors not tied to a specific company. Some individuals may own their own business, but to be a true independent contractor, the person works for himself or herself without a direct connection to a company. This would mean that benefits and other pay are not derived from an organization, but payments may be obtained through the business.

While wages cannot be garnished from an independent contractor, other items such as real estate may be taken. This may occur through judgment in court with particular creditors. However, it is important to contact a lawyer if any specific garnishment occurs that is in violation with being an independent contractor. The company may be penalized for this action, but there is the possibility that multiple persons have been classified incorrectly and they have been subjected to the same circumstances.

The Lawyer in Employment Garnishments

If the wages affected exceed a certain amount, it is almost always beneficial to seek the assistance of a lawyer. However, even if the monies are only in the few thousand, it is important to be compensated for the mistake of the employer. Legal assistance can explain a person's rights.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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