As an employment lawyer, Dan Chammas frequently deals with cases regarding employee misclassification and other similar problems. One of the biggest causes of these conflicts is the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, and vice versa. Many employers are unaware or have been misinformed about the requirements for independent contractor status, which leads to these misclassifications. Although each state has different laws regarding independent contractors, in Chammas’ home state of California, it is very difficult to achieve independent contractor status.
The general definition of an independent contractor is a person who provides services to another person or business under the terms specified in a contract. They are not an employee, and only work on an as-needed basis. Therefore, independent contractors do not receive the same benefits that full employees do, which motivates many companies to wrongfully classify their employees as independent contractors to avoid having to provide these benefits.
For someone to be classified as an independent contractor, there are several requirements they must meet, although ultimately the classification is determined on a situational basis. If you instruct or supervise the worker, can fire them at any time, or work with them as a part of your regular business activities, they are likely an employee and not an independent contractor. If the worker has a separate business and is able to make their own business decisions regarding their work, they are likely an independent contractor. Independent contractors also generally do not require training, provide their own tools, and are paid an agreed amount upon completion of the project.