Lessons From Cambodian Dancing Arrests: Don’t Draw Extra Attention to Your Independent Contractors

Tips for avoiding independent contractor misclassification claims

Screenshot from telegraph.co.uk

Ten European tourists face up to a year in Cambodian prison after being arrested for “pornographic dancing,” according to The Telegraph. Apparently, they went to a villa barbeque party and took pictures of themselves, clothed, dancing in suggestive poses.

Readers take notice: When barbequeing in Cambodia, do not draw unneeded attention to yourself by simulating sex positions and posting the pictures on social media.

When dealing with independent contractors, it’s also a good idea not to draw unnecessary attention to the situation. Some kinds of activities create particular risks of a misclassification claim, in which the independent contractor could be deemed an employee.

For example:

  • Giving your contractor a company email address can create the impression that the contractor is your business’s employee. Try to avoid that.
  • Requiring your contractor to wear a company uniform or badge should be avoided when possible. If it’s necessary to show your contractor’s affiliation with your business (such as for a delivery person), try using different attire that specifically identifies the person as a contractor.
  • Converting an employee to a contractor can draw the IRS’s attention in a 1099 audit. When an individual gets a W-2 and a 1099 in the same year, that can raise an eyebrow.

And, finally, a cautionary note to contractors: If the business that retained you is holding an employees-only villa barbeque dance party in Cambodia, it’s best not to attend.

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For more information on independent contractor issues and other labor and employment developments to watch in 2018, join me in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, or Cincinnati on March 28 for the 2018 BakerHostetler Master Class on Labor Relations and Employment Law: A Time for Change. Attendance is complimentary, but advance registration is required. Please email me if you plan to attend, tlebowitz@bakerlaw.com, and list my name in your RSVP so I can be sure to look for you.

© 2018 Todd Lebowitz, posted on WhoIsMyEmployee.com, Exploring Issues of Independent Contractor Misclassification and Joint Employment. All rights reserved.