Millions of workers are classified as independent contractors, a figure that is growing all around the country. These workers are engaged in many different industries. However, in some cases, they may be misclassified. When employee misclassification occurs, the employee may lose rights under the laws designed to protect them. These include wage and hour and overtime protection laws, as well as a lack of workers' compensation and anti-discrimination laws. Misclassification is a problem not only for workers but also for law-abiding employers. At The Nourmand Law Firm, our Los Angeles wage law attorneys can help you fight for your rights under the law if you have been subject to employee misclassification.Protect Your Rights in the Workplace
Misclassifying employees as independent contractors results in employers being able to avoid paying payroll taxes, withhold earned overtime wages, and deny meal and rest breaks to which workers may be entitled. Misclassifying a salaried employee as exempt denies a worker overtime pay and certain other benefits.
In California, it is presumed that all employees are non-exempt employees unless an employer can prove that they are exempt or that they are independent contractors. When an employer controls the way that an individual performs their work, the individual is considered an employee under California law. This is a fact-sensitive question. The court will not look at an independent contractor agreement and assume that it is accurate. Instead, it will look at what was expected in fact between the hiring entity and the worker to determine the hiring party's right to control the worker's actions and determine whether employee misclassification has occurred.
Employers are required to pay overtime to employees unless an employee falls under an exemption. For example, workers with certain types of administrative, executive, or professional jobs involving managerial, intellectual, or creative work that requires independent judgment are exempt. They generally must be paid a monthly salary that is equivalent on an hourly basis to at least two times the California minimum wage for full-time employees.
Under wage and hour laws, all employers owe to non-exempt employees a duty to pay them at least minimum wage, give them appropriate meal and rest breaks, pay overtime as required by law, keep accurate payroll records, reimburse them for certain business-related expenses, and provide itemized wage statements. An employer that engages in employee misclassification may be subject to a claim for unpaid wages, penalties, civil penalties, and attorneys' fees. In California, if you were paid less than minimum wage, you are entitled to liquidated damages that are equal to the amount of your lost wages. An employer also owes a penalty of one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each day worked in which a meal break or rest break was not provided. There are additional civil penalties that may be imposed on employers for willfully misclassifying workers as independent contractors in California, as a result of Senate Bill 459, passed in 2011.Take Legal Action with the Assistance of a Los Angeles Attorney
If you have suffered harm in a Los Angeles workplace due to employee misclassification, the lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm may be able to help you file a lawsuit to seek your damages. We provide aggressive legal representation to workers in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills, Perris, Victorville, Ontario, Moreno Valley, Vernon, and other cities in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, and San Bernardino Counties. Call us at 800-700-WAGE (9243) or contact us through our online form to set up a free appointment with a class action lawyer or seek assistance with another type of employment claim.