My question involves independent contractors in the state of: Ohio
My wife has been working with a newspaper delivery depot for about 5 months now. When she first began her time there, she was asked to sign a contract (like any other 1099 job). This contract was apparently outdated [1980's she believes] and included irrelevant things no longer necessary to the job such as door-to-door collections. The job is paid per delivery of each paper per day paid biweekly through direct deposit. She was told, but the contract did not state, that she would be charged (more than what she would be getting paid had the paper been delivered) for a missed paper or a complaint. This was never an issue. She was however forced to go through a weeks worth of training. She was told to be at the depot by a time she would be texted each night and to be done delivering papers by 6 am mon-fri and 7:30 am Saturday and Sunday.
She changed her route a few times which resulted in constant calls and harassment from the boss and another employee there. Even with them being completed on time now they are constantly calling and texting to the point that we often don't even respond. A few times they called to ask where we were on the route and due to car issue we were behind where we would normally be. The employer sent the employee to assist us. We filled out a paper to give her and she never showed, effectively running us late. They are very controlling with the way we go about delivering these papers even though we have a great relationship with majority of our clients. About 2 weeks ago she showed up to pick up the papers from the depot and was told she must sign a new contract or she could not work and would not be paid effective immediately.
This new contract now did include the above mentioned fees for missing a paper, along with a new penalty of 50 dollars if she cannot deliver for some reason. 50 dollars being more than a days pay from the job. Also a 50 dollar fee for a client cancelling their subscription on our route if there is a complaint from the client prior to their cancellations. And another fee for late papers. I was upset she signed the contract simply because they would not let her leave to do the job without but it became a real problem tonight. The tire of our car unfortunately fell off. Agreeing to just pay the fee if need be (verbally), they tried to force her to ride with some man who is not employeed there, uncomfortable with that she said that the fee would be okay (she is a very anxious person and hasn't slept today due to us trying to find a way to fix the car on a Sunday evening) the boss said she would be more comfortable if she went and just hung up on her.
She hasnt heard from anyone since and is scared she will be fired and not paid as a friend of herd has been when her car broke down a few months ago. She never received her check. I told her I would post here to try to figure out what our options may be. I'm almost positive she is misclassified as an independant conteactor and also if I read correctly the forced contract switch with no reason behind it related to her directly is also not legal. We are hurting for money badly and can't afford to lose this income until a suitable replacement is found but this job with them calling all hours of the day and night and never knowing what they may force her to do is killing her. I'm sorry if some of my terminology is incorrect, I'm trying to be as accurate as possible.