Is Your Independent Contractor Status Costing You Cash?

As a worker, being classified as an independent contractor or employee is usually clear based upon a number of factors. However, more and more companies try to get around California labor laws by misclassifying employees as independent contractors.  This results in you, the worker, losing out on wages and often employee benefits. The Carter Law Firm, an Orange County employment law firm, has represented workers and recovered significant damages in cases involving independent contractor misclassification.

In 2018, the California Supreme Court created three straightforward guidelines to simplify the worker classification process.

To properly qualify as an independent contractor you must satisfy these three requirements:

  1. The worker is free from the control and direction of the company in performing his work;
  2. The work being performed is outside the usual course of the company’s business, and
  3. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the company.

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles is expected to make it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors. Employers are now expected to “reevaluate” the relationships they have with contractors and employees. Classifying workers incorrectly is illegal and can lead to harsh consequences.

We frequently encounter violations involving the misclassification of employees as independent contractors in the trucking industry. 

Essentially, if you are a trucker, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is your employer providing the equipment for your job (i.e., your rig)?
  2. Are your work hours set by the employer?
  3. Do you have quotas or performance standards set by the employer?

If you answered yes to any of these questions and your employer has classified you as an independent contractor, you are likely misclassified.  Sometimes simply discussing this with your employer can resolve the issue.  More often, a labor lawyer needs to get involved to protect your rights. Truckers have reported to us that this has gone on for a long time, and requests for reclassification often fall on deaf ears.

If you are a truck driver or any other type of employee that has been misclassified as an independent contractor, the Carter Law Firm can help.