Anticouni & Ricotta | Leaders In Employment Litigation Serving Clients Throughout California.

Is “quiet hiring” a new way for employers to cheat employees?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Wage And Hour Claims |

The events of the last few years have wrought sea changes in the way that people live – and work. With many people taking a hard, long look at the way their work-life balance had become distinctly unbalanced over time, “quiet quitting” became a trend.

Quiet quitting, which basically involves people scaling back their herculean efforts for their employers and reducing how much of their lives they’re willing to sacrifice “for the company’s good,” shifted workplace dynamics.

Employers have long relied on the fact that many workers were doing more than they should – often with no extra compensation – to ensure their profits. Now that they don’t have all that extra free labor, they’re trying to turn the tables through “quiet hiring.”

Contract workers aren’t always as independent as they’re supposed to be

What’s the best way to make up a labor shortage without actually hiring new workers? For many companies, contract workers have been the key to filing temporary labor shortages. While quiet hiring also involves promoting from within the ranks to save the company money, it’s also geared toward plugging labor gaps with independent contractors.

But independent contractors are not always truly “independent” when they’re being used to fill long-term positions. Employers will sometimes inadvertently mislabel an employee as an independent contractor, but others will do so purposefully because:

  • ● They don’t want to be obligated to pay the taxes on another employee’s wages, so they shift the burden to the “contract” worker.
  • ● They don’t want to offer the employee health insurance or have to cover the employee on their workers’ comp plan – which saves the company money.
  • ● They don’t want to offer the employee other benefits like sick leave, vacation benefits or other “perks” that regular employees receive.

In short, quiet hiring can be a clever way for employers to wait out the ongoing changes in our economy before they add to their staff – or it can be a clever way to steal an employee’s wages and benefits.

The reality is that it can be very difficult to protect your time and your finances from an employer’s abuse if the employer is savvy and willing to take a few chances. Misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor is actually serious business – and it hurts you. Learn more about your legal options if you’re ready to fight back.

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