Sacramento Employment Law Attorney
Helping Independent Contractors & Contingent Workers
California’s modern-day workforce is composed of a mix of traditional
employees, independent contractors, and a new group of workers known as
contingent workers. The existence of these three distinct groups of workers
gives businesses a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to meet their
staffing needs. It is important that business owners, independent contractors,
and contingent workers understand the benefits of these alternatives to
traditional employees and the limited rights available to them.
What Is an Independent Contractor & What Benefits Does This Position Provide?
There is no standard definition for what constitutes an “independent
contractor.” Instead, an independent contractor is characterized
by his or her independence from the employer. Determining whether a person
is an independent contractor is always a fact-intensive inquiry that looks
into how much control the employer is able to exercise over the independent
contractor and how the independent contractor does his or her work.
Independent contractors can be beneficial to employers looking to cut costs because:
- An independent contractor bears the burden of any project that goes over budget;
- The independent contractor is not entitled to any overtime pay from the employer;
- The independent contractor is not eligible for worker’s compensation
benefits through the employer;
- The independent contractor is not eligible for traditional employee benefits.
Independent contractors also have limited rights to sue their employer
for the employer’s wrongful conduct. For example, the Fair Employment
and Housing Act has been previously said to not apply to independent contractors.
(Nevertheless, independent contractors may be able to bring a suit against
an employer that discriminates against the independent contractor during
hiring or where the employer harasses the independent contractor).
What Is a Contingent Worker & What Benefits Does This Position Provide?
Contingent workers comprise a new classification of worker. A common example
of a contingent worker is the employee of a hiring or staffing agency
that provides staffing services to area businesses that need to supplement
their workforce. The contingent worker is usually an employee of the staffing
agency but may also be considered an employee of the business that retains
his or her services.
Contingent workers are generally compensated less than traditional employees
performing the same job duties. Contingent workers also tend to have lower
health insurance and other similar premiums. This means that the employer
who uses contingent workers may realize more monetary savings than they
would if they used traditional employees.
What If I Am Not an Independent Contractor or Contingent Worker?
Employees, independent contractors, and contingent workers should take
steps to ensure that their employers properly classify them. You may lose
significant benefits and protections if you are an employee but classified
as an independent contractor. Likewise, any protections you may have as
a contingent worker may disappear if your employer treats you as an independent
contractor. One way to tell how your employer classifies you (aside from
asking) is to examine your paycheck; if your paystub does not show deduction
for standard employment taxes, pensions, and/or healthcare premiums, chances
are your employer is not treating you as a traditional employee.
Employers who deliberately misclassify workers can face serious penalties
Understanding your rights as an independent contractor or contingent worker
Contact my office today at 916-443-3553 and learn how my knowledge and experience can assist
you during an