Differences Between An Independent Contractor and An Employee

Learn about the important distinctions and consequences of being classified as an independent contractor versus employee and how to enforce your rights if you’ve been misclassified.

Some debates are fun and don’t have much consequence.  Are you a Los Angeles Lakers or a Clippers fan?  Do you root for the Dodgers or the Angels?  Or would you simply prefer to just watch the World Cup?

Other debates, however, are very important, like whether you’re classified as an employee or an independent contractor.  The consequences of that classification could have a significant impact on:

  • Whether you’re covered by labor laws, like wage and hour, overtime, rest and meal breaks, and others
  • Whether you’re covered by workers’ compensation insurance if you’re injured working
  • Whether wrongful termination, retaliation, anti-discrimination, and other employment causes of action apply to you
  • Whether you’re indemnified and covered for injuries you may accidentally cause to others
  • Whether you pay into your social security and Medicare and how you pay taxes
  • Others

How to Determine Your Work Status by the IRS

A good way to determine if you’re an employee or an independent contractor is to fill out and submit an IRS form SS8 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf; also https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_independentcontractor.htm).  The form walks you through several categories of factors, including “Behavioral control,” “Financial control,” “Relationship of the worker and firm,” and if you’re a “Service provider or salesperson.”

Employers can be innocently mistaken, but in many cases unscrupulous employers purposefully misclassify employees as independent contractors to save money.  No matter how an employer labels you, courts will look at all factors and can retroactively enforce labor laws as well as wrongful termination and discrimination causes of action within an employment lawsuit.  Moreover, if you’re hurt while performing work duties, the workers’ compensation act and all of its benefits can still be applied if it’s determined you were indeed an “employee.”

This area of law is extremely complex and how you’re classified is extremely important to your financial well being as well as your health if you’re injured.  If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, our award-winning Los Angles personal injury lawyers, employment lawyers, and workers’ compensation lawyers stand at the ready to fight for your rights and enforce laws against bad acting employers.

The Dominguez Firm has experienced worker injury lawyers ready to assist and get you the compensation you deserve.  If there is no recovery, there is no fee!  Call now for a free consultation at 800-818-1818.

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