misclassified as an independent contractor

Being misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer can result in financial hardship and lost benefits. Some employers use independent contractor misclassification to significantly reduce their tax liability, wages, and other expenses.

If you have been misclassified, it is important to talk to an experienced attorney who can help you claim the benefits you are entitled to and avoid unnecessary expenses and tax liability. 

Workplace Rights Law Group is a team of lawyers with experience representing employers in misclassification and other employment law disputes. This means we have unique insight into how the employer will argue the case, which allows us to better advocate for you. Our mission is to provide all clients with an individualized case plan crafted by attorneys with the experience and knowledge that usually comes from a big law firm.

How Do I Know If I Am an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

You can determine whether you are classified as an employee or an independent contractor by reviewing your paycheck statement. If your pay statement does not show taxes being deducted, your employer is classifying you as an independent contractor. 


The Labor Code of California automatically classifies an employer’s new hires as employees, not independent contractors. The employee designation gives you rights under state and federal laws, such as:

  • Minimum wage,
  • Overtime,
  • Meal breaks, 
  • Rest breaks, and
  • Sick leave.

The employee classification also requires employers to file the local, state, and, federal taxes, including but not limited to:

  • Social Security tax,
  • Medicare tax,
  • Federal withholding tax,
  • State withholding tax, and
  • Local tax.

California enacted new laws in 2020 to make it more difficult for employers to misclassify employees as independent contractors. Independent contractor misclassification is an illegal and unethical solution for an employer to reduce the amount of taxes and wages they must pay to people who complete their business tasks. 

Independent Contractors

Independent contractors do not receive the same benefits and protections from state and federal laws as employees. Independent contractors are responsible for paying the costs and expenses required to complete projects as promised. Independent contractors must also pay their own taxes to the correct local, state, and federal agencies. 

It can be a shock to learn your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor. Suddenly, you are responsible for filing your payroll taxes. You must also pay for the equipment and items necessary to perform the job you completed as an employee. Employee misclassification can cause a tremendous burden for you. 

The employer bears the burden to prove a person is an independent contractor, not an employee. For a person to be classified as an independent contractor, the employer must pass the ABC Test. This legal test requires employers to prove:

  • They do not control or direct the person regarding the performance of the person’s work;
  • The work performed by the person is not work that is within the employer’s scope of business; and 
  • The person’s primary line of work involves the same work the person performed for the employer. 

The ABC Test does not apply to all employers and industries. For example, contracts for musicians and contracts for professional services are each governed by a separate test.

It is critical for the correct test to be reviewed with the facts of your case. Labor laws are intricate. We can help you understand the laws that apply to your case. Please reach out to schedule a free case review. 

What Should I Do If I Was Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor, there are a few things you can do to protect your wages and benefits. 

Get a Copy of Your Collective Bargaining Agreement

collective bargaining agreement is between the employer and labor organization that represents the employees. The collective bargaining agreement outlines conditions the employer must fulfill. These conditions may address:

  • Wages and overtime, 
  • Sick leave, and 
  • Items to ensure a safe working environment.

The information in your collective bargaining agreement may outline standards and internal policies that help your employee misclassification case. If a labor organization represents employees at your company, you can request a copy of the collective bargaining agreement from the labor organization. 

Note Your Daily Work Responsibilities

If your employer wrongfully misclassified you as an independent contractor, it can be helpful to take notes about your daily responsibilities and tasks. Requesting a copy of your current job description can provide information on the tasks you perform for your employer.

Take note of whether your daily responsibilities are the same as those in your job description. Among other things, employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors must prove that their responsibilities are not part of the employer’s normal scope of business.

Call an Experienced Attorney for Advice on Your Situation

The best way to protect your rights is to discuss your situation with an attorney. They can advise you of your options and important steps you should take to seek compensation.

Workplace Rights Law Group is passionate about helping workers recover their lost wages and damages. Our extensive experience with employee misclassification and other employment issues allows us to craft effective strategies individual to your case.

How Are Damages and Penalties Calculated for Employee Misclassification?

Damages and penalties available for your case will vary based on your unique circumstances, but may include:

  • Up to four years of back pay for wages and overtime,
  • Interest on back pay, and
  • Compensation for your attorney’s fees and costs.

Compensation for misclassification can be obtained by a court proceeding or with a state or federal claims process. Our experienced attorneys have immense knowledge about employee misclassification. We can explain the specific legal remedies that apply to your situation. 

Contact Us Today for a Free Case Review

Our team of lawyers has over 75 years of combined experience representing clients in wage and hour disputes. Our knowledge of the employer’s playbook gives us an advantage over other employment law firms.

Workplace Rights Law Group wants to talk to you about your situation. Our offices are located in Riverside and Glendale. Contact us online or by phone to schedule your free case review.

Where You Can Find Our Riverside, CA Office

Where You Can Find Our Glendale, CA Office


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)