Boston, Holt & Durham, PLLC

Employment law does not apply to all

Most workers in Tennessee and around the country are protected from workplace discrimination issues such as age, race religion and gender. However, there is a large group of workers who are not protected by employment law. That group is made up of the independent contractors, freelance workers and other contract workers who makeup an estimated 15 to 30 percent of the American workforce.

Many people nearing or at retirement age go into work as part-time freelance or contract workers. A man in another state who had a long and successful career as a Human Resources executive signed on with his old company to teach employee training courses. He received positive evaluations from his students and was looking forward to increasing his class load. He was informed that his services were no longer needed.

The company claimed that it had more people willing to teach than positions to fill and therefore couldn't satisfy all requests for assignments. The man who had been teaching and had been the HR executive was 70 years old at the time he was told his services were no longer needed. He said that had he been a full time employee of the company he believed he would have had grounds for an age discrimination case, but that as an independent contractor the law does not apply to him.

It is true that independent contractors do not enjoy the same job protections as company employees. Sometimes the line between the two is not necessarily clear. A person in Tennessee who feels he or she may have been discriminated against because of age, race religion or other reason, may want to speak with a lawyer experienced in employment law. An attorney can review the situation and advise the client as to what options may be available.

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