In any industry, certain companies may adopt practices that fall short of ethical standards, and the cleaning industry is not immune to this reality. Unfortunately, unjust, or illegal practices are not uncommon in the cleaning field. One prevalent issue involves companies designating their workers as independent contractors to cut costs on taxes. This not only potentially violates regulations but also often results in the unfair treatment of workers, particularly immigrants.
A notable instance of such misconduct took place in Washington, DC, in 2022. As per information from the DC Attorney General’s website, Jan-Pro was involved in a “multilevel franchising scheme that inaccurately categorizes janitorial employees as independent contractors. Jan-Pro persuaded janitors in the area to sign ‘franchise agreements’ with promises of financial independence and entrepreneurial success. However, in reality, these janitors were functioning as Jan-Pro’s employees — and due to this misclassification, they were deprived of the wages and sick leave entitled to them under District law.”
If a cleaning company has substantial control over how workers perform their job, the conditions they work in, and their compensation, these workers are legally considered employees, not independent contractors. Jan-Pro violated this rule by designating their workers as independent contractors. This allowed Jan-Pro to evade certain employer taxes, unjustly shifting the financial burden onto the workers. Many of these workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
Engaging a cleaning company that practices such injustices may result in negative effects for your own business. Firstly, if there is a public legal case, especially if workers were mistreated, your company’s reputation could suffer. Secondly, in the event of a legal case, your cleaning company might abruptly cease operations, leaving you in a challenging situation. Thirdly, if workers are paid less than the minimum wage, they may feel pressured to rush through their work, leading to a decline in quality. Lastly, if you are reading this, it’s likely that you prioritize ethical business practices and expect the same from the companies you work with.
The answer is complex. There is a legal and fair way for cleaning companies to utilize independent contractors, and reputable companies following these guidelines do exist. However, these companies cannot dictate every aspect of how the work is done. If you are considering a company that uses independent contractors, it is crucial to ask thorough questions to ensure they are following the rules and treating workers fairly.
A more secure option is to align with a company that employs its own workers, oversees their work, and prioritizes their well-being. If this aligns with your preferences, we are here to assist you.