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Independent Contractor Misclassification

Respected Law Attorney Ensuring Workers in Orange County and Los Angeles Are Fairly Compensated

According to recent statistics, the number of independent contractors doubled— from 15.8 million to 31.9 million—between 2020 and 2022. While being an independent contractor works well for some workers, there is considerable downside to the arrangement in that workers are not afforded employment law protections. Thus, companies have shown an increased desire to stretch the bounds of the law to classify workers as independent contractors when they should be considered employees.

If you believe that you’ve been denied the rights you are entitled to as an employee because your employer has engaged in independent contractor misclassification, you may be able to obtain financial compensation through a Los Angeles or Orange County employment lawsuit. At the Hardin Law Group, we are an LA employment law firm that exclusively represents workers. We have more than 25 years of experience ensuring that our hard-working clients receive every benefit they are legally entitled to. 

California’s Law on Independent Contractor Classification

California law on the classification of independent contractors is guided by strict criteria to distinguish independent contractors from traditional employees. This classification is crucial because it determines whether an individual is entitled to employee benefits and protections. The central piece of legislation governing this area is Assembly Bill 5 (“AB 5”), which came into effect on January 1, 2020.

AB 5 adopts the “ABC” test, which sets out three criteria that must be met for a worker to be considered an independent contractor:

  1. Autonomy in Work: The worker must be free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact. This means that the individual must have significant independence in how they perform their tasks.
  2. Business Nature: The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business. For instance, a plumber fixing a leak in a restaurant is an independent contractor since plumbing is not the restaurant’s usual business.
  3. Customarily Engaged: The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed. This criterion checks whether the worker independently performs the same type of work for other entities or has a business set up to do so.

The adoption of the ABC test significantly narrows the scope of who can be considered an independent contractor. Prior to AB 5, California used the Borello test, which focused more on the level of control a company had over a worker and was less stringent. However, AB 5 includes several exemptions for specific professions and business relationships, where the Borello test still applies. These exemptions cover professions like doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, engineers, private investigators, and accountants, among others.

AB 5 represents a growing trend towards greater protection and benefits for workers, emphasizing the importance of accurately distinguishing between employees and independent contractors. However, even since the passage of AB 5 in 2020, Los Angeles employers have continued to violate workers’ rights and deprive them of the benefits they are entitled to in an effort to save on payroll expenses.

Why Independent Contractor Misclassification Hurts Workers

If you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you may have been deprived of many legal protections intended for employees, including but not limited to:

  • Laws requiring payment of minimum wage;
  • Laws requiring payment of overtime wages;
  • California laws requiring family leave;
  • Workers’ compensation coverage if injured on the job;
  • Employment insurance;
  • The right to organize or join a union; and
  • Laws prohibiting retaliation against employees.

Thus, if your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, you are not receiving certain benefits and protections you may be entitled to.

Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer with Specific Experience Handling Independent Contractor Misclassification

If your employer considers you an independent contractor, but your role is more of that of an employee, you could be missing out on valuable benefits and protections. At the Hardin Law Group, our Los Angeles and Orange County independent contractor lawyer has decades of experience helping right employers’ wrongs through aggressive advocacy and litigation. If you’ve been misclassified as an independent contractor, we can help. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call our Los Angeles wage and hour violations attorney at 310-606-2122. You can also connect with our Orange County employment attorney by calling 949-337-4810.

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