Am I being taken advantage by being labeled as a private contractor ?

I was a recent graduate wanting to get working experience. I started volunteering and everything was going great. The person in charge decides to give me an offer as a private contractor. Basically they will pay me 5 hours a day and then I would volunteer the remaining 3 hours. So in total I would get paid 20 hours every two weeks and volunteer 18 hours. Since I was excited to learn new things while getting paid, I accepted. I been working there for over a year now but I feel like I’m being taken advantage of as being classified as a private contractor. I have a set schedule, I work from 9-5 M,T,F and 9-2 W,TH. I do mostly everything in the lab, I believe I am a key employee because the study depends on the patients I recruit. My tasks involve recruiting multiple patients, collecting and processing their samples, I do data entry, and other lab duties. I also do a lot of overtime work because I’m invested in the study while not being paid for it. The person in charge tells me that that’s the only thing that they can offer because the study is a project with not many funds. But I feel like I am being taken advantage because I contribute a lot to the study while not getting credit for it.

2 answers  |  asked May 24, 2020 12:16 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Shawn Sasooness
I agree with Drew's response regarding volunteer work. That is definitely something to consider, but your situation sounds like an employment relationship; not a volunteer relationship. In that case, you should be getting paid for your time within all CA wage and hour laws.

I am a CA employment lawyer. Contact me and I will be able to advise you on this.

posted by Shawn Sasooness  |  May 26, 2020 09:43 AM [EST]
Drew Lewis
There are very few instances when someone doing work should not be paid. Volunteering is certainly one of those. But the way you describe your work situation does not seem as though you have legally "volunteered" to do the work. If you are not a volunteer, then you're owed wages, penalties and interest for the hours you worked but for which you were not paid.

I put together some information on our site about unpaid wages. I think you might find it helpful.

posted by Drew Lewis  |  May 24, 2020 12:20 AM [EST]

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