You may have received a contract when you began working at your current job, and the manager may have told you that your position requires you to be classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee. However, some unethical employers in California tell employees this so they do not have to adhere to wage and hour requirements, including minimum wage and overtime laws.

At Barrera & Associates, Attorneys, we thoroughly understand the legal differences between employee and independent contractor classifications, and we often help clients prove their employer has misclassified them. According to the IRS, there are three basic categories that differentiate between employees and independent contractors:

1.      Financial control: Independent contractors generally work by the job, receiving a flat fee for the work, but you may be an employee if you receive a set hourly wage or a weekly salary. Employers generally provide the equipment that employees use, and may also offer reimbursement for certain purchases. If your employer does not want you to work at another company concurrently, this could indicate that you should be an employee.

2.      Behavioral control: Because independent contractors are self-employed, they generally make their own decisions regarding how they will perform the work. If your manager provides you with specific instructions about how to do your job duties, requires you to do them on the premises and gives you a schedule of when you must work, you may be an employee. If the manager evaluates your performance, it indicates you are an employee, while an evaluation of the work itself is more common for employers who hire independent contractors.

3.      Relationship: Your contract with your employer does not determine your status, but it may hold some clues as to your relationship with your employer. If you are eligible to receive insurance, sick leave or vacation pay, the duration of your relationship is not defined by an end date and you provide services that are a primary element of the company’s business, you are likely to be an employee.

Sometimes, the status may be obvious, but in some workplaces, it requires a thorough analysis of these and other factors to determine whether the employer is guilty of misclassification. For more information about employee rights and ways that employers violate wage and hour laws, please visit our webpage.