Let’s set the record straight: Employee misclassification is a big problem, and it occurs throughout the country. Some employers do it intentionally. In other instances, it is simply an innocent mistake that happens when an employer fails to understand the difference between contractors and employees.
For too many employees, misclassification leads to the loss of a range of rights like unpaid overtime and worker’s compensation claims if you are hurt at work. So how do you assert your rights if you believe your employer is misclassifying you?
Establishing whether your employer is misclassifying you
Per California law, you are an independent contractor if you belong to any of the following categories:
- You are not subject to the direction and control of the employer regarding how work you perform your job
- Your work falls outside the ordinary scope of the employer’s business
- You are engaged in an independently established trade, business or occupation that is of the same nature as your employer’s
If the above terms do not apply to your situation, then you are most likely an employee. In other words, if the employer can hire and fire you at will, tell you when to break from work or how to perform your job, then you are basically an employee.
Taking action if your employer is misclassifying you
California laws make it illegal to deliberately misclassify an employee as an independent contractor. Thus, if you are misclassified by an employer, you may be eligible for compensation. By filing a wage and hour claim, you can recover the following damages from your employer:
- Unpaid wages (salaries and overtime)
- Liquidated damages
- Penalties and interests
- Unpaid leaves, rest and meal breaks
Safeguarding your rights
Every person deserves fair pay for their work. If an employer is misclassifying you for whatever reason, you deserve justice.