Am I misclassified as an independent contractor?

If your employer has told that you that you are an independent contractor, it is important to make sure this classification is correct. After all, independent contractors who suffer injuries in the workplace are not entitled to workers' compensation benefits, according to the Department of industrial Relations. Additionally, you should realize that many employers in California have intentionally misclassified workers as independent contractors in order to bypass workers' compensation laws and other obligations that employers have toward employees.

If you are unsure of whether or not you should be classified as an independent contractor, the DIR provides a number of pointers to keep in mind. You may not be an independent contractor if the person who pays you has control over your work, is able to fire you, provides work supplies or has the ability to make you work certain hours or days. Furthermore, if you are paid an hourly wage or have deductions taken out for Social Security and unemployment, it is unlikely that you are an independent contractor.

For example, if you are a house cleaner and were told that you are self-employed, but you don't provide your own cleaning supplies or you have to work on a schedule that the company sets up, your employment status may be misclassified. Independent contractor misclassification is also somewhat common if you work in industries such as construction, health care, home maintenance, landscaping and lawn care, retail transportation and food.

This piece was written for informational purposes only and should not be misunderstood as legal counsel.

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