There is a vast difference between an employee and an independent contractor. In California, employees have significant rights not provided to independent contractors. As such, employers tend to misclassify employees as IC knowingly to avoid paying overtime and other federal or state wage rules. As an employee in California, you want to ensure that you are treated right. Unless you meet the desired qualification of an independent contractor, you should be treated as an employee. Your employee should not save money while violating the rules. Taking the necessary legal steps can bring to an end such violations.
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Who Is An Independent Contractor?
An independent contractor is a person who performs a job according to their way. They are not subjected to anyone’s control except where there is a mutual agreement to work on a particular job. In California, the adoption of the ABC test helps determine whether a worker is an employee or an IC. You are considered an independent contractor if the below three factors are satisfied:
- You are not being directed or controlled on how to perform work by the hiring entity.
- You perform work outside of the usual course of your hiring entity.
- You are engaged in an independently established occupation or business that is performed by the hiring entity.
In California, anyone misclassified can file a wage and hour lawsuit. The only distinction comes from the protections made available to employees by the California wage and hour law. There are huge penalties for employers who violate the law. If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, you have the right to look for an employment law attorney in Alaska to help you file a claim. Any misclassification means that you have been:
- They pay all your Social Security and Medicare taxes, whereas an employee pays half of them.
- Paying for your workers’ compensation and other unemployment insurance coverage
- Denied legal protection offered to employees
If your employer has misclassified you, they most likely did this to avoid payment of taxes or insurance or cost of workers’ comp insurance.
What To Do If Not Being Treated As An Employee
Remember that your employer denies your workplace rights if you have been misclassified as an independent contractor. You are entitled to minimum wage, leave or sick pay, overtime and rest breaks as an employee. Indeed, employers save themselves lots of money when they misclassify employees as ICs. Unfortunately, many employees are not aware of the misclassification. Worse enough, they don’t know how to act in such a situation. The fact is that there are so many steps you can take after realizing you are being misclassified as an independent contractor. They include:
- Talk to your employer: If it’s clear that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, discuss the issue with your employer and see whether they are willing to rectify the situation. Give a detailed explanation as to why you think you are not being treated as an employee.
- Contact Internal Revenue Services: If your employer seems not bothered, seek guidance on contacting the IRS and have them determine your employment status for tax purposes. If the IRS determines that you are to be treated as an employee, your employer could be treading on dangerous grounds. It’s more likely for your employer to discriminate against you or retaliate against you once they learn you took the matter over to the IRS. This should not breed anxiety. If you have legal representation, it becomes easy to take another step in filing a discrimination claim.
- File form IRS 8919 and avoid paying more than half of the Medicare taxes: Before filing, you need to confirm that the IRS has declared you to be an employee or that your colleagues perform similar duties to yours and are treated as employees.
- File a claim: In most cases, workers find out they have been misclassified when they have suffered from work-related injuries. Such as when they go to seek worker’s compensation benefits and their employer denies the claim. If in such a situation, you should file a claim and the relevant agency will investigate your case.
Getting Legal Help
For the law to determine whether you have been treated as an IC, they will assess the degree of control over your work. This could include details of when and where you perform the job. If it’s determined that you have been misclassified, it’s your chance to recoup all you have lost. You should file a lawsuit with the help of an experienced employment attorney. Your employer will be required to pay back taxes, and penalties deemed fit by the court. If misclassified as a group, you can also file a class-action lawsuit.