Dental Professional Employment Classification

Employee or Independent Contractor?

Department for Professional Employees

The Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors
“Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can free employers from their legal responsibilities to their workers, such as providing a minimum wage, and abiding by hour laws, because employment and labor laws are based on traditional employee-employer relationships.”

-United States Government Accountability Office

Employers can thwart union organizing or dilute bargaining units by misclassifying workers. Independent contractors are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act.”

Fact Sheet

“An independent contractor is a self-employed professional who exercises independent judgment and renders services as specified in a contract. The independent contractor will have greater control than an employee in terms of hours, fees, personal work routines, appointment book control, and treatment and planning.

  • Is the worker responsible for securing all of his/her own patients, or are patients provided by the engaging entity?
  • Does the engaging entity have the right to control fees, payment and collection policies to patients?
  • Who provides the instruments and equipment and determines whether there is a designated time for when and where to perform the work, what order or sequence to follow, and who can hire workers to assist with the job.”
American Dental Association

” ‘Under common-law rules, anyone who performs a service for you is your employee if you control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.” Simply put, most dental hygienists work under some sort of supervision of a dentist, see the dentist’s patients, and use the dentist’s equipment.”

“In today’s strained fiscal environment, both federal and state governments are taking enhanced steps to combat employer misclassification. On the federal level, the IRS audits employers for unreported federal taxes stemming from misclassification. States, meanwhile, are passing initiatives and laws to protect employees and crack down on unlawful employers.”

“In terms of legislation, states are beginning to pass laws creating a “presumptive employee status.” These laws presume that workers are employees of an employer, not independent contractors, and therefore it is the responsibility of the employers to overcome this presumption by proving that their workers are instead genuinely independent.”

“If you’re the worker, you may be tempted to say “1099,” figuring you’ll get a bigger check that way. You will in the short run, but you’ll actually owe higher taxes. As an independent contractor, you not only owe income tax, but self-employment tax too. Apart from tax law, employee status carries a host of nondiscrimination laws, pension and benefits laws and wage and hour protections that apply to employees but not to independent contractors.”