Rights as a casual worker

Written by lita mcleary
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Rights as a casual worker

Casual workers help companies meet certain business goals as needed. Some work with agencies that send workers whenever companies need additional hands. But many are independent contractors---not connected to any agency---who work temporarily for the completion of a particular project. Although casual workers do not enjoy the benefits of being a regular employee, they are still entitled to certain rights.

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Identification

A casual worker is someone who does not belong to the permanent workforce. Casual workers work, as the name suggests, on a "casual" or temporary basis. This means that they may work only when there is a job available, thus without a continuing contract.

Rights

Casual workers or independent contractors have control over a certain project. While the company that employs the casual worker has the right to specify desired standards on a project, the casual worker has the right to determine how to achieve those desired standards. The rights of a casual employee depend on the state or country where she resides. In the U.S., a non-employment relationship is established through an oral or written document between the company and the casual worker. An employer is not required to offer full-time work to a casual worker; a casual worker in turn has the right refuse work whenever she wants to, which means that she has a high degree of control over her work. However, she does not receive the full range of legal protections that full-time employees enjoy.

Misconceptions

Some employers think they are not responsible for the health and safety of a casual employee. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 2004, however, it is the responsibility of an employer to provide a safe and healthy workplace, whether the people working there are regular employees or independent contractors.

Settlements

A company has the right to dismiss a casual employee without notice. In special cases---such as when an independent contractor worked under the guidance, supervision and control of the company---he has a right to a hearing and compensation for unfair dismissal. The court takes into account the kind and length of service that determines the amount of compensation the casual worker is entitled to if his dismissal is deemed unfair.

Warning

Employers, companies and businesses are prohibited from misrepresenting the nature of a person's employment. Under Minnesota law, for example, once a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor rather than a regular employee, he is deprived of his legal rights and protection as a worker. If a company is found to violate this law, it can be penalised by the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor.

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