If you work as an independent contractor, you may be concerned about how workplace laws apply to you. A contract laborer, or independent contractor, is someone who is hired in to do a job but isn’t an employee of the company who has hired them. They may have to have their own insurance and must pay their own taxes and expenses.
While you may have to pay your own expenses and taxes, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get protection from the employer in some shape or form. As an independent contractor, you are entitled to a safe, healthy work environment. The employer who hires you is responsible for covering you on their workers’ compensation policy.
This is a law set by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act. In Texas, independent contractors are considered to be employees of the hiring employer under the employment contract’s terms. While the independent contractor is not technically a lesser employee of the business, he is responsible for completing the contract between the employer and himself.
In the same regard, the contractor is not required to follow the rules and regulations of the employer as if he was his boss; instead, as long as safety processes and terms are followed, the contractor is an independent entity from the company. For example, the independent contractor wouldn’t necessarily come to work in a uniform, but he would be required to show up on time per the rules of the contract.
As an independent contractor, you are entitled to all the same respect as traditional employees. Your contract is legally binding, which means that the employer can’t suddenly stop a job and fire you based on your terms. On top of that, if you are harassed or discriminated against, you are protected by law against these actions. Breaches of contract are still treated as such by law whether or not you’re a permanent employee of the employer’s.
Source: Texas State, “Independent Contractors/Contract Labor” accessed Feb. 25, 2015