Generally, employers in California will classify all workers as either employees or independent contractors. To determine whether someone is an employee, the employer should consider the following factors:
- Whether the employer has the right to control what worker does at work and how the work is done.
- Whether the employer controls how the worker is paid.
- Whether the worker receives employee benefits.
- Whether the relationship between the employer and worker is ongoing.
Independent contractors generally are seen as self-employed, meaning that they are not entitled to the same legal protections that employees have. As a result, employers may intentionally misclassify an employee as an independent contractor to avoid:
- Paying worker’s compensation or unemployment benefits.
- Granting family leave or sick leave.
- Reimbursing employees for work-related expenses.
- Paying employees minimum wage or overtime in accordance with state and federal laws.
- Granting breaks and meal periods, as required by law.
If an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, they may also lose legal protections against harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
Was I misclassified by my employer?
It can be difficult to determine whether you are an employee or independent contractor. If your employer has classified you as an independent contractor, answer the following questions:
- Am I working under my employer’s control?
- Do I do work only within my employer’s usual course of business?
- Am I customarily engaged independently in this job/trade?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may have been misclassified as an independent contractor. An attorney specializing in employment law and employment disputes can help confirm your misclassification and help you recover back pay and other benefits from your employer.