Workers may not be aware that there are employment classifications. These are different categories of workers based on their employment status. These classifications can affect how a worker is paid and their rights in the workplace.
There are two main types of work that are helpful to understand. An employee is a person who performs services for an employer. That person is under the control of the employer. They are entitled to protections and benefits in the workplace that include minimum wage, overtime pay and workers’ compensation.
An independent contractor is generally a person who is self-employed. They control their work arrangements and are not entitled to same protections as employees.
If an employer misclassifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee, there can be legal and financial consequences. Employers may classify a worker as an independent contractor to avoid paying expenses and providing benefits like health insurance. They may also misclassify a worker to avoid compliance with employment laws, like the requirements for meal and rest breaks or overtime pay.
If an employee believes they have been misclassified, there are several steps they can take. They can discuss the concern with their employer and if that does not resolve the issue, they can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office. Employees should be prepared to gather evidence and documents that support their claim.
The employee also has the option to pursue legal action for unpaid wages or denied benefits if they have suffered financial harm. It’s helpful to have their pay stubs, work schedules, and any other supporting information to show the employment relationship.