Independent Contractor vs. Employee: An Ode to Tom Petty

With an unmistakable voice and powerful lyrics, Tom Petty will long be remembered as a musical giant. As I tuned into the SiriusXM Tom Petty channel on my drive home from work last night, I decided to honor his memory the only way I know how – by linking a bunch of his song titles to completely irrelevant points about independent contractor misclassification.

So, here it is, the subject of Independent Contractor vs. Employee, as told through the song titles of Tom Petty.

You Got Lucky. Businesses sometimes tell me that their independent contractors must not be misclassified because it’s always been done this way. The business has never been audited or sued. Ignorance, however, should never be mistaken for bliss. Just because your classification of workers as contractors has never been challenged does not mean it is correct. To all those businesses who may be misclassifying their independent contractors but have never been challenged, I would say, You Got Lucky.

Don’t Do Me Like That. This song reminds me of the common scenario where an independent contractor has been blissfully working for a business for many years. Everyone is happy with the arrangement – until they are not. The business cuts ties with the independent contractor, then the contractor files a complaint. The agency or judge, evaluating the facts of the relationship, concludes that the contractor was really an employee all along, and the business now owes back assessments or back taxes for several years of misclassification. To every independent contractor who has filed a claim, what the business really wants tell you is, Don’t Do Me Like That. Continue reading