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Differences Between Employees and Independent Contractors

How do you know whether you are entitled to employee protections under California law such as overtime, meal periods and rest breaks, among other things?  The answer depends on whether you are considered an employee or an independent contractor.

To be viewed as an employee, there needs to be an employer-employee relationship.  There are several factors that courts weigh to determine whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor.  The primary factor courts consider is whether the individual or company has the right to control the manner and means in which the worker performs his job.  Other factors include (1) whether the worker is involved in his own enterprise independent of that of the individual or company, (2) whether the work performed by the worker is part of the regular business of the individual or company, (3) whether the individual or company provides the worker with instruments and equipment necessary to perform the essential functions of the position, (4) how long the working relationship is expected to last, and (5) how the worker is paid.

There is a strong presumption that workers are employees, which means the individual or company has the heavy burden of establishing the above factors.

A big misnomer is you are an independent contractor if the individual or company tells you that you are.  The fact a worker may be treated as an independent contractor is of no significance in determining employment status.  Even if a worker receives an IRS Form 1099 from the individual or company, which form is usually provided to independent contractors, this does not confirm that a worker is an independent contractor.

If you have any questions or would like more information on this topic, please contact the attorneys at Aegis Law Firm, PC.