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What To Do About Improper Employee Classification In California

Updated: Sep 26

A Quick Guide To Employee Misclassification And Relevant Labor Law Claims

Under California law, employees are entitled to a number of wage and hour protections, such as meal and rest breaks, a minimum wage, and overtime pay. However, some businesses misclassify their personnel as independent contractors out of malice or ignorance. Therefore, an employer may unlawfully deprive a worker of their legal rights and benefits while also breaking the law if they do this.

You may be entitled to pay and other damages if your employer incorrectly classified you as an independent contractor. Even though suing your employer can seem frightening, you don't have to go through the legal procedure or fight them alone. A California Employment Law Attorney can help you investigate the claim, negotiate, and facilitate settlements.


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What Is Employee Misclassification Under California Employment Law?


Numerous legal rights exist for employees in the workplace in California. However, employers might purposely misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying employment-related taxes and get around the California Labor Code. This means you might not be getting the pay you should be receiving.


Although there are exceptions for exempt employees, employees are required by law to be given a specific amount of time each day for food and rest breaks. In addition, they must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime; however, some exempt employees may be excused from this requirement. California workers are entitled to rest and meal breaks of a 10-minute break after every four hours of work and a 30-minute unpaid meal break every five hours. If you don't, your employer may need to pay you more than the regular pay.


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Additionally, if an employee works longer than eight hours a day, their employer must pay them 1.5 times their standard rate of pay, and if they work longer than 12 hours, they must be paid double time. However, independent contractors are not legally entitled to these benefits because they are not considered employees of the hiring corporation.


If you've been misclassified, you'll have grounds to file an Employment Claim in California. Doing so will enable you to claim compensation for the financial and emotional losses from the difficulties you've experienced due to misclassification.

That said, filing claims can be a complicated process. You should speak to a prescreened California Employment Lawyer to help you do all the crucial steps to filing labor law claims.


What Is An Independent Contractor In California Employment Law?


An independent contractor is a self-employed individual who works on a contract basis for another organization. Regardless of whether a worker signed an independent contractor agreement, specific legal requirements must be completed in California for a worker to be classified as an independent contractor. Each of the three requirements of the "ABC" test, as specified by Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), must be met for a worker to be considered an independent contractor.


According to California law, a worker must meet the following requirements to be deemed an independent contractor:

  • Be free from the employer's control and direction concerning their work performance, as stipulated in the contract, and in completing the work.

  • Carry out tasks that are not typically part of the hiring entity's business.

  • Be regularly employed in a trade, profession, or business similar to the work performed for the hiring body.

A worker must be categorized as an employee if even one of the requirements above is not met. If you think you've been misclassified as an independent contractor in California, you should contact a prescreened Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney ASAP.


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Are There Exceptions To Employee Classification In California?


There are a few exceptions to the "ABC" test's applicability in most sectors. A court may utilize the "Borello" multi-factor test to establish whether the potential employer controls the means and manner in which the employee carries out their employment if it finds that one of the two scenarios applies.


When federal legislation exists, that will supersede the "ABC" test, or in situations involving certain professions—such as insurance brokers, physicians, lawyers, or architects—the "Borello" approach may be applied.

The law governing the classification of independent contractors is rather complex. However, an expert employment law attorney can ensure you recover the compensation you were unfairly refused if your employer misclassified you.

If you're unsure whether your case qualifies for an employment claim in California, you should speak with a Los Angeles Labor Lawyer to help. Your attorney can look through the facts of your case and determine its viability.


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