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Same work, fewer expenses and less hassle.

That’s the perceived advantage of using independent contractors. But many employers have opted for freelancers only to find a new set of problems: lack of control, unreliable workers and, in some cases, litigation. It’s a complex issue that has invited wide scrutiny.

A host of federal and state agencies are cracking down on employers that misclassify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying employment taxes, benefits or overtime. New York recently appointed a task force to examine employee misclassification. Illinois passed a law that automatically classifies construction workers as employees unless they meet specific exceptions.

Even Congress has acknowledged that the rules for classifying workers are complex. The Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the U.S. House Education & Labor Committee met in March 2007 to address the problem. “If a team of lawyers is necessar...(register to read more)

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