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  1. #1
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    Aug 2017
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    Default Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Florida

    We are hoping to revise our Independent Contractor contracts for a business which includes farm work with large animals, large rambunctious dogs, large reptiles, etc. I understand we cannot mandate that these contractors wear a specific uniform or wear company logos, however, it is imperative for their safety to wear full length, jean material or similar pants, with shirts that have sleeves, and close toed shoes. There may be situations where they can get scratched or worse, and we feel it is a bare necessity for them to wear something along these lines vs short shorts and spaghetti strap shirts, which we've seen.

    Is this a possibility if kept vague enough for them to determine what they wear for that job, similar to how they determine what process they take to complete a job that day? We have the outlines of the different job types and tasks in the required formats, so could this attire be placed with the specific job?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    I don't think that anybody is going to believe that you aren't illegally misclassifying these people as independent contractors. But if you don't care about that, understand that the more limitations, restrictions, and rules you put on these people the easier it will be for them to claim to be employees if they get hurt on the job or get fired.

    I suggest you rethink this independent contractor thing. But, again, if you don't care about that, just go ahead and take your chances. Tell them as much as you want or as little as you want, doesn't matter.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    The classification issue aside, you can require anyone that comes into your facility or has access to a certain part of a facility to wear any safety equipment you feel is required. I have clients that I have to visit worksites on a fairly regular basis. I have steel toed boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, a long sleeve work shirt and a pair of jeans in a go bag for just that reason.

    You can also require contractors to "dress appropriately" even if it isn't safety related. Just like you can require customers to dress appropriately. i.e. "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    I don't think that anybody is going to believe that you aren't illegally misclassifying these people as independent contractors. But if you don't care about that, understand that the more limitations, restrictions, and rules you put on these people the easier it will be for them to claim to be employees if they get hurt on the job or get fired.

    I suggest you rethink this independent contractor thing. But, again, if you don't care about that, just go ahead and take your chances. Tell them as much as you want or as little as you want, doesn't matter.
    Like button.

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    The classification issue aside, you can require anyone that comes into your facility or has access to a certain part of a facility to wear any safety equipment you feel is required. I have clients that I have to visit worksites on a fairly regular basis. I have steel toed boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, a long sleeve work shirt and a pair of jeans in a go bag for just that reason.

    You can also require contractors to "dress appropriately" even if it isn't safety related. Just like you can require customers to dress appropriately. i.e. "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service."
    I suspect these "ICs" work for OP full time, and are already misclassified as ICs. I suspect OP is just making the misclassification problem worse with these clothing requirements. Just my take on OP's post + how most misclassifying employers think (an area where, sad to say, I have way too much experience).

  5. #5
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    Can't wait to see how PayrolGuy explains why he's treating these farm workers as independent contractors.

    Should be a hoot.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    You can require contractors to provide certain safety equipment and that's what you're describing. You can require anyone entering your facility to wear these items. At the mills and mines I've worked at these items and more are mandatory and a part of the contract and contractors handbook.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    I don't think we haven't anything like enough information to say if there's a misclassification or not.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    I don't think we haven't anything like enough information to say if there's a misclassification or not.
    I agree. We do not.

    Quote Quoting kspeer
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    Is this a possibility if kept vague enough for them to determine what they wear for that job, similar to how they determine what process they take to complete a job that day? We have the outlines of the different job types and tasks in the required formats, so could this attire be placed with the specific job?
    You certainly may specify that in your contracts. Whether these people are truly independent contractors now and what effect this additional requirement may have on their classification as independent contractors or employees is impossible to say without reviewing the totality of your relationship with them. A lot of people classified as independent contractors are actually employees; too many small business people do not really understand what makes an independent contractor. The potential cost to you is huge if you get it wrong. You really need to get off the internet and into the offices of an employment law attorney for a review of the entire circumstances of your relationship with the people you are hiring to ensure proper classification and that you are meeting all applicable employment laws. Smart businesses consult lawyers on issues like this to stay out of trouble. The cost of that legal advice will pay for itself many times over during the life of your business.

  9. #9
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    Quote Quoting cbg
    View Post
    I don't think we haven't anything like enough information to say if there's a misclassification or not.
    Hence hoping the OP comes back and provides it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    9

    Default Re: Can You Require Independent Contractors to Follow a Dress Code

    You certainly may specify that in your contracts. Whether these people are truly independent contractors now and what effect this additional requirement may have on their classification as independent contractors or employees is impossible to say without reviewing the totality of your relationship with them. A lot of people classified as independent contractors are actually employees; too many small business people do not really understand what makes an independent contractor. The potential cost to you is huge if you get it wrong. You really need to get off the internet and into the offices of an employment law attorney for a review of the entire circumstances of your relationship with the people you are hiring to ensure proper classification and that you are meeting all applicable employment laws. Smart businesses consult lawyers on issues like this to stay out of trouble. The cost of that legal advice will pay for itself many times over during the life of your business.

    Thank you! We initially met with lawyers for the set up of our independent contractors and business structure, which is how we produced our current contracts. We do not have another meeting with the office for about 2 weeks, and we were told to think of any additions/revisions to the existing contracts. I'm just trying to do some homework ahead of time. No need to include a guideline for precautionary safety attire if it's not a possibility.

    I have found other IC contracts which include sections for the Occupational Safety and Health Act, however, I was originally under the impression that OSHA requirements only applied to actual employees. Which is where my confusion on this subject is stemming.

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