California Independent Contractor Law – Are You Being Misclassified?

contractor missclassified

It can be difficult under California independent contract law to determine if you’re being misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer.

Many employers dodge their responsibilities to their employees by calling them “independent contractors.”

If you make a living as an independent contractor, read this article to check whether you should be receiving employee benefits. And if you do not qualify as an independent contractor under California independent contractor law, call Startpoint Employment Lawyers.

Our experienced employment attorneys have an impeccable record of successfully asserting the rights of mistreated employees. 

The Rights of a California Independent Contractor vs an Employee 

There is a significant difference between the rights of a California independent contractor vs an employee. Our employment lawyers explain the difference between the rights you receive for your work as an independent contractor versus what you have the right to receive as an employee. 

Employee Rights

In general, an employer must ensure their employees receive

  • Minimum wage, 
  • Workers’ compensation, 
  • Unemployment insurance, 
  • Meal breaks,
  • A workplace free from discrimination and harassment,
  • Overtime pay, and
  • Workplace safety.

An employer is also responsible for withholding several state and federal taxes from an employee’s paycheck.

Independent Contractor Rights 

Independent contractors have two primary rights:

  • Their client must follow the terms of their contracts. 
  • Their clients cannot discriminatorily harass them. 

If your client fails to comply with the terms of your agreement, you can sue them in civil court. And if you are subjected to unlawful harassment on the job, you can file a complaint with the California Civil Rights Division.

Also, remember that independent contractors are responsible for paying state and federal taxes out of the money they receive for their work.  

Identifying an Employee vs. an Independent Contractor in California

Per California independent contractor law, when identifying your employment status, the title a hiring entity gives you is largely meaningless.

Your status comes from the nature of your working relationship. There are multiple state tests that determine whether you should receive the benefits of an employee vs. a contractor in California.

The ABC Test 

The main test for classifying a worker as an independent contractor vs. an employee in California is the ABC Test. A worker is an independent contractor under the ABC test if:

  • The hiring entity has no control over how the worker performs their work; 
  • The worker is performing work that is not within the hiring entity’s usual course of business; and
  • The worker ordinarily engages in independent work that is the same as the work they perform for the hiring entity. 

Our skilled employment attorney can review the details of your job to decide whether you are truly an employee or a contractor in California. 

The Borello Test

Not every work relationship in California is subject to the ABC test. If the ABC test does not apply, state courts use the Borello test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Under the Borello test, courts look at:

  • Whether the hiring entity has (and exercises) control over the manner and means of performing the work;
  • Whether the worker holds themselves out as having a business separate from the hiring entity;
  • Whether the work is an integral or regular part of the hiring entity’s business; 
  • Whether the hiring entity provides tools and materials for the worker to use; 
  • Whether the worker’s services require special skills;
  • Whether the kind of work performed is done under employer supervision;
  • Whether the worker realizes profits or incurs losses; 
  • How long and permanent the working relationship is supposed to be;
  • How the worker receives payment;
  • Whether the worker has their own employees;
  • Whether the hiring entity can fire the worker; and
  • Whether the worker and hiring entity believe they have an employee/employer relationship.

Our experienced wage and hour dispute attorneys can determine which test applies to your work situation and whether you have rights as an employee. 

What to Do If You Are Misclassified

If you are an employee who has been misclassified under California independent contractor law, you can sue your employer in civil court, or you can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office. And we can help you maximize your recovery.

We Are Here to Help

Starpoint’s California employment lawyers work hard to make sure California employees receive proper treatment and compensation.

If your employer has disrespected your rights, we can help you—we have not lost a case yet! You can call us at 310-561-1765 or contact us online. 

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.

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