Why is it important for workers to be classified correctly?

In California, it is important that workers are properly classified as to whether they are an employee or an independent contractor. Some might function under the impression that it does not make much of a difference one way or the other provided they are paid the wages they are owed.

However, there is a significant difference between being an employee and an independent contractor. It is connected to workers who are mistreated or deprived of their rights having the ability to complain to the state authorities about it and have the issue resolved. Misclassification prevents this and should be avoided.

Employees have more rights than independent contractors

In California, an independent contractor does not have the same rights as an employee. For example, employers are required to pay employees based on the state minimum wage. They must pay them for overtime. Workers will receive a meal time and a rest break. There are also options if workers are placed in an unsafe environment or are retaliated against. They will get unemployment coverage if they lose their job.

This is not so for independent contractors. Independent contractors work based on the contract they have agreed to. If there is a dispute, they will need to go to court to get compensation. By contrast, if an employee does not receive overtime pay, they can contact the Labor Commissioner’s Office so it can be settled.

When workers are misclassified and they complain about it, the employer cannot retaliate against them. If they are threatened with job loss for protesting, this too warrants a claim with the Labor Commissioner to hold the employer accountable for their legal violations.

Misclassified workers should exercise their legal rights

Some employers might try to take advantage of workers by misclassifying them. They often portray it as beneficial to the workers in some way. In truth, it is a legal violation and misclassification deprives employees of rights they are entitled to under state law. If this is happening, workers should know they have options and there is no need to be fearful of facing consequences from their employer because of it.