Q. We have some paid consultants who have been working for us for two years. Are there any ramifications if we refer to these consultants as “staff” and enter them in a national database as our staff? — Becky, Nevada
A. Yes, absolutely. Consultants have brought several prominent and successful lawsuits claiming they were entitled toand other advantages of employment. Some of the best-known cases were brought against Microsoft in the 1990s after its stock became quite valuable.
You may also be tagged with “joint-employment” status if your organization directs the consultant’s day-to-day work closely. If they are not employed by another independent entity, you might experience employment tax complications as well.
As a result, many employers have adopted strict policies against hiring consultants for long periods (such as a year). Consult a local attorney to see what’s best for your organization. If a perceived risk exists, consider converting these individuals to employees, or regularly replacing the individuals who perform that role through any third-party contract.