Misclassification Of Employees As Independent Contractors

The misclassification of workers as independent contractors rather than employees is a serious problem in Rhode Island and across the country. To report misclassification, call (401) 574-8477 or fill out the form below.

If an employer retains the right to control what will be done and how it will be done, the individual is likely performing services as an employee.

This form can be emailed to philip.l.dambra@dlt.ri.gov.

Why is employee misclassification a problem?

When employers misclassify workers

  • They avoid paying many state and federal taxes.
  • They avoid providing workers compensation coverage for their employees.
  • They may fail to follow wage, contractor registration or other labor laws.
  • They have a competitive advantage and may underprice legitimate employers.

The Federal Government Accountability Office reports that the underpayment of unemployment, Social Security, income taxes, and workers' compensation are exceeding billions of dollars federally and millions of dollars at the state level.

Rhode Island employers must generally withhold state and federal income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes on wages paid to employees. They must also pay Workers' Compensation premiums on the employees.

An employee is anyone performing service for an employer who controls what will be done and how it will be done by the worker.

Independent Contractors have an independent trade, business or profession. Their services are offered to the public and they have the right to control the means and methods of how the work is performed.

Article 8 of the FY15 state budget established the Task Force on the Underground Economy and Employee Misclassification to enhance collaboration between government agencies focused on protecting Rhode Island’s workforce and ensuring a level playing field for businesses in our state.

The task force is charged with:

  • Fostering voluntary compliance with the law by educating business owners and the workforce about properly classifying workers and applicable requirements;
  • Protecting the health, safety and benefit rights of workers, and
  • Restoring competitive equality for law-abiding businesses.

The task force Task Force has representation from: