As the economy continues to shift from a culture of full-time employment to an on-demand "gig" marketplace, the landscape of workers' rights is also changing. Working as an independent contractor rather than an employee allows a worker more flexibility and autonomy in their work schedule, among other things, but that may come at the cost of losing certain benefits. It's crucial to understand how the legal rights of workers who are considered "employees" are different from those who are considered independent contractors such as consultants, short-term contract workers, and freelancers.
On behalf of the New York State Bar Association, Wendi Lazar, Partner and co-chair of the Outten & Golden Executives and Professionals Practice Group, presented a discussion panel at Manhattan's CUNY Graduate Center on 34th Street as part of a 4-hour MCLE workshop titled "'Sweat Equity' in Start-Ups and Early-Stage Businesses: Legal, Tax and Employment Issues for Founders, Key Executives and Independent Contractors." In her lecture, Lazar focused primarily on company founders' obligations to There employees, recruiting talent, wage and hour concerns (wages vs. equity), misclassifying employees as independent contractors, and preparing for a sale (workplace issues, avoiding tax problems, potential litigation, and the value of the business).