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Employees are provided with various wage and hour protections under California law, including meal breaks, rest breaks, minimum wage, and overtime pay. However, some employers willfully or mistakenly misclassify employees as independent contractors. In doing so, an employer might not only be violating the law, but wrongfully depriving a worker of their legal rights and benefits.

If your employer mislabeled you as an independent contractor, you might be entitled to recover the compensation you are owed and other damages. While taking legal action against your employer can feel intimidating, you don’t have to face them — or the litigation process — alone. At Optimum Employment Lawyers, we ensure that those who have been wronged by their employers have unrelenting representation and reliable counsel every step of the way.

What is an Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is a person who is self-employed and contracts with another entity to perform work. In California, there are specific legal criteria that must be met to classify a worker as an independent contractor — regardless of whether a worker signed an independent contractor agreement. In order for a worker to qualify as an independent contractor, each of the three prongs of the “ABC” test codified by Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) must be satisfied.

To be considered an independent contractor under California law, a worker must:

  • Be free from the control and direction of the entity which hired them in connection with their performance of the work, under the contract and in carrying out the work;
  • Perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business;
  • Be customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed for the hiring entity.

Critically, if just one of the above criteria are not met, a worker must be classified as an employee.

Although the “ABC” test is applicable in most industries, there are several exceptions. If a court determines that one applies, it may use the “Borello” multi factor test to consider whether the potential employer has control over the means and manner the worker carries out the performance of their work. The “Borello” analysis may be used in cases involving certain occupations — such as insurance brokers, doctors, lawyers, or architects — or when there is a federal law in place that would preempt the “ABC” test.

The law concerning independent contractor classification is highly nuanced. If your employer has misclassified you, an experienced employment law attorney can help make sure you receive the compensation you’ve unjustly been denied. When you work with Optimum Employment Lawyers, you can rest assured that you have knowledgeable counsel on your side who will fight for your rights and secure the best possible outcome in your case.

What Rights Should Misclassified Workers Have?

Employees in California are entitled to many legal rights in the workplace. Employers who deliberately misclassify employees as independent contractors may do so in an attempt to avoid paying employment-related taxes — and to bypass the California Labor Code. Importantly, by law, workers classified as employees must be provided with a certain amount of time for meal breaks and rest breaks each day, although there are exceptions for exempt employees. They must also be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime, again, subject to exceptions for some exempt employees.

In California, employees must be given the opportunity to take a 10-minute break for every four hours worked, and an unpaid 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked. Failure to do so can result in the employer being obligated to pay you “premium pay.” Employers are also required to pay employees one and a half times their regular pay rate if more than eight hours are worked in a day, and double time for more than 12 hours worked during a workday. However, since independent contractors are not actually employed by the hiring entity, they are not afforded these benefits under the law.

Workers who have been misclassified may be eligible to recover the pay they were denied due to their employer’s wrongdoing. At Optimum Employment Lawyers, we understand that when your employer refuses to follow the employment laws, it’s not just your income that suffers, but your dignity as well. We are committed to providing high-quality legal services for misclassified workers in a wide variety of industries — and assist them with obtaining their rightful compensation.

Relentless Representation for Independent Contractor Misclassification Lawsuits

You deserve to get paid for the long hours you put in at your job. Unfortunately, if you’re facing misclassification by your employer, you might not be getting all the pay and other benefits guaranteed by law you’ve worked hard to earn. If your employer misclassified you and deprived you of your legally entitled wages, you might be entitled to recover the pay that was wrongfully withheld.

By filing a misclassification lawsuit against your employer, you may also be eligible to be awarded liquidated damages, penalties, interest, litigation costs, and attorney’s fees. But, it’s essential not to delay commencing a lawsuit — under the California Code of Civil Procedure 338 CCP, you only have three years to file from the date of the most recent employment law violation.

No one should be exploited by their employer’s wrongful actions. At Optimum Employment Lawyers, we understand that filing a lawsuit against your employer can be stressful and overwhelming. We are dedicated to advocating vigorously for each of our clients — and working to hold their employers accountable.

Contact a Qualified California Employment Law Attorney

Independent contractor misclassification lawsuits can be complicated. A knowledgeable employment law attorney can assist you with recovering the monetary recovery that is rightfully yours. Offering responsive counsel and personalized attention in every case, Optimum Employment Lawyers represents clients throughout California for independent contractor misclassification lawsuits and a wide variety of employment law matters. Contact us at (949) 954-8181 to schedule a consultation.