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Factors in making the distinction between and Employee and Independent Contractor - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards

Although many factors are considered, and no one factor by itself is controlling, the following basic principles often apply in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independ-ent contractor:

  • Generally, the employer/employee relationship exists when the person for whom ser-vices are performed has the right to control and direct the individual who performs the services, not only as to the result to be accomplished by the work, but also as to the details and means by which that result is accomplished. That is, an employee, and not an independent contractor, is subject to the will and control of the employer not just as to "what" shall be done, but "how" it shall be done.
  • The right to discharge is also an important factor indicating that the person possessing that right is an employer, and the person subject to it is an employee. Other factors of an employer-employee relationship are the furnishing of tools, materials and a place to work to the individual who performs the services.
  • Independent contractors are persons who are in business for themselves. Their business is usually different from the business of the person for whom the work is performed.
  • Generally, those who follow an independent trade, business, or profession, in which they offer their services to the public, and who may be in a position to suffer financial loss rather than a guaranteed wage, are independent contractors and not employees. Persons involved in certain professions and occupations are often conducting business as independent contractors. These include physicians, lawyers, dentists, veterinarians, construction contractors and subcontractors, certified public accountants, etc. However, many persons with these occupations work for firms, associations, institutions, leasing companies or organizations and, in those cases, may be employees and not independent contractors.