Several companies hire people to work for them and label them as independent contractors instead of actual employees of the organization. In some instances, these labels are not correct, leading to potential problems for workers down the line.
Employers may do this in order to limit potential tax obligations, in addition to the benefits they may have to provide to the worker. They could also use this path to “screen” individuals to determine who they wish to give more formal offers of employment to, but in many cases, they are simply trying to evade their responsibilities under California’s employment laws.
California takes a very harsh stance on situations where a worker is misclassified as an independent contractor. It can penalize companies who engage in this type of behavior. Workers who feel they are being misclassified do have options available to them if they find themselves being subject to potentially unlawful behaviors in the workplace.
One of the most widespread issues that arises due to misclassification concerns the payment of wages that a person believes he or she should earn. In short, California’s wage and hour laws apply to actual employees of a company, but may not apply to independent contractors. This means that independent contractors may not receive lunch breaks or overtime wages that they earn for working a certain number of hours.
Other benefits that independent contractors may not receive include:
- Family and medical leave
- Minimum wage
- Unemployment insurance
- Paid vacation
- Sick time
The trouble with worker misclassification largely centers on employee mistreatment. When an organization intentionally places workers into the wrong category, the company can still continue to treat a worker like an employee even though the individual does not receive any of the benefits or protections entitled to employees.
If you were the victim of employee misclassification, it is crucial that you hold your employer accountable for their actions. By working with an experienced employment law attorney, you can receive the guidance and representation you need.