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Issues a Misclassified Worker Faces

Issues a Misclassified Worker FacesMisclassification, or illegally labeling you as an independent contractor instead of an employee, will impact you in many ways. Most independent contractors are paid less than equivalent employees, but that’s only the start.

MJB Law Group employment law attorneys represent victims of illegal employment practices, including misclassification, to help them get the justice they deserve. Call us today at (949) 266-0880 for a FREE case evaluation and consultation to discuss what’s going on at work.

 Lower Pay

You’re probably paid less than an equivalent employee as an independent contractor. As such, you may be paid less than the minimum wage and won’t qualify for overtime or extra pay on holidays.

Lost Benefits

If benefits are offered to employees, you probably won’t qualify for them. Benefits are expensive, so employers try to save money by using independent contractors. Depending on the workplace, you won’t receive:

  • Paid vacation
  • Paid sick time
  • Paid holidays
  • 401k matching
  • Health and dental insurance
  • Vision coverage
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Family medical leave
  • Education benefits
  • Student loan repayment

Your employer will enjoy the fruits of your labor while you, if all goes well, just get paid.

No Legal Protections

Many laws and programs cover employees. Few protect independent contractors:

  • Unemployment Compensation: If an employee loses their job, they may qualify for unemployment compensation depending on the circumstances. That’s not the case if you’re an independent contractor unless you can prove to the state’s Employment Development Department you’re misclassified
  • Worker’s Compensation: Employers must cover their employees with worker’s compensation benefits. If you’re injured at work and refused worker’s compensation benefits, you may still get benefits if you show you’ve been misclassified. An employer denying you’re an employee could instead be named a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit. The court process takes more time, is more complicated, and has a higher standard of proof, but if you’re successful, you may receive a higher recovery
  • Worksite Safety Rules: Rules meant to protect employees may not cover contractors
  • Union Membership: Contractors can’t belong to unions
  • Discrimination: There are extensive state and federal laws protecting employees against discrimination due to race, color, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, pregnancy, nationality, gender identity, and national origin. This includes a ban on harassment based on these protected classes. They don’t apply to independent contractors unless they can show they’re misclassified employees
  • Wage Collection: As an independent contractor, if you’re unpaid for work you’ve performed, you’ll need to file a breach of contract claim in court to be compensated. You can file a claim with the state’s Department of Industrial Relations as an employee, but you’ll need to show you’re misclassified and should be paid like an employee. If you’re not getting paid because the company is going bankrupt, bankruptcy laws prioritize paying wages. As an independent contractor, you may be paid less or nothing if you’re grouped with other contractors and suppliers who’ve been stiffed

Given that benefits and legal protections increase the costs of doing business, some employers try to get around them by hiring people they call independent contractors who are employees under the law. This is one of the unintended consequences of legislatures and courts trying to improve workers’ lives.

How Can I Avoid These Issues?

If you’re offered a position as an independent contractor, ask many questions. The more the work will dominate your life, the more hours you will work, and as management control of your work increases, it’s more likely your possible employer is misclassifying you. The best way to deal with this is to offer to accept the job as an employee (which will probably be rejected) or refuse to accept the job. Financially, this may not be an option for you.

If you’re in this situation or already working as an independent contractor but think you’re misclassified, call our office to discuss your circumstances and options. If you’re currently working, we may be able to inform your employer of their mistakes and have you correctly classified as an employee.

Contact a Tustin Employment Law Lawyer

If you believe you’re misclassified as an independent contractor, talk to an experienced MJB Law Group employment law attorney. We will explain your legal rights, assess your case’s strength, and fight for your future. Call us today at (949) 266-0880 or fill out our confidential contact form so you can discuss your options at a FREE case evaluation and consultation.

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