In every business, some companies may employ practices that fall short of ethical standards, and the cleaning industry is not exempt from this reality. Unfair or illegal practices are unfortunately common in the cleaning industry. One common issue is when companies call their workers independent contractors to save money on taxes. This might not just be against the rules; it often means workers, especially immigrants, are treated unfairly.
An example of this happened in Washington, DC, in 2022. According to info from the DC Attorney General’s website, Jan-Pro was part of a "multilevel franchising scheme that wrongly labels janitorial employees as independent contractors. Jan-Pro convinced janitors in the area to sign 'franchise agreements' with promises of financial independence and entrepreneurial success. But in reality, these janitors were working as Jan-Pro’s employees — and because of this mislabeling, they didn't get the wages and sick leave they deserved under District law."
If a cleaning company has a lot of control over how workers do their jobs, what conditions they work in, and how much they get paid, those workers are supposed to be considered employees, not independent contractors. Jan-Pro didn't follow this rule by calling their workers independent contractors. This helped Jan-Pro avoid paying some taxes they were supposed to pay as employers, and this put the financial burden on the workers. Many of these workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
Why it's important to choose a legal and fair cleaning company
Engaging a cleaning company that employs these unjust practices may lead to complications for your own business. First, if there's a public legal case, especially if workers were treated badly, your company might get a bad reputation. Second, if there's a legal case, your cleaning company might suddenly stop working for you, leaving you in a tough situation. Third, if workers are paid less than the minimum wage, they might rush through their work, and the quality might not be good. Lastly, if you're reading this, you probably care about doing things the right way and want the same from the companies you work with.
Should you hire a cleaning company that calls its workers independent contractors?
The answer isn't simple. There's a legal and fair way for cleaning companies to have independent contractors, and you can find such companies. But these companies can't control everything about how the work is done. If you're considering a company that uses independent contractors, ask a lot of questions to make sure they are following the rules and treating workers fairly.
A safer choice is to go with a company that hires its own workers, supervises their work, and cares about their well-being. If that's what you're looking for, we're here to help.