Our Blog

Read about legislation, cases, law news on how our
work is helping our clients.

Independent contractor vs. employee classifications can be confusing and complicated. If you believe that you should receive back wages due to misclassification, discuss the matter with a California minimum wage attorney as soon as possible. 

There are many reasons why employers fail to pay employees the minimum wage required by the California Labor Code. One reason is that an employer might misclassify an employee as an independent contractor. California labor laws only apply to employees – not independent contractors – and this means there is no specific minimum wage requirement. Many independent contractors might accept lower pay than minimum wage, but if they should be an employee under the law, they can hold the employer accountable for unpaid wages.

Misclassification is a tricky subject, and companies will surely defend against misclassification wage claims. Always seek assistance from California minimum wage attorneys if you think you might have a case. 

How to Tell if You are an Independent Contractor

As of 2019, California law requires employers to utilize the “ABC” test to determine if someone is an employee or independent contractor. This test requires someone be meet all of the following requirements in order to be an independent contractor:

  • The hiring company does not have control over the individual regarding the performance of the work
  • The individual is performing work that is outside of the usual business of the hiring company
  • The individual routinely conducts work in an independent manner that is in line with the work they are performing for the company

If someone does not – both in contract and in fact – meet these criteria, they should be considered an employee and deserve minimum wage (among other protections) under the law

In recent years, California passed a law that required companies such as rideshare and food delivery apps to classify their “gig” workers as employees, which would have given all of those drivers (among other workers) the right to minimum wage. However, voters passed Prop 22 in November 2020, which exempted rideshare and food delivery app companies from the new law. This means that drivers for Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and similar companies are still considered to be independent contractors in California

What Happens if You Should Have Been an Employee?

If you and your lawyer determine that you should have been classified as an employee under the law, you are entitled to back wages in some situations. For example, if a company hired you and you completed 100 hours of work, and the company paid you a flat fee of $1,000, this is below the minimum wage in California of $14.00 for larger employers and $13.00 for smaller employers. If you can prove you should have been paid as an employee, you can seek the difference in pay that you are owed. 

Speak With our California Minimum Wage Lawyers Today

The California minimum wage lawyers at the Mara Law Firm handle claims involving a wide range of circumstances, including misclassification as an independent contractor. It can be difficult to know whether you have a case, but our attorneys can review your situation and advise you of your rights. Call (619) 234-2833 or contact us online for a case evaluation as soon as you can.

Share here...

FREE CASE REVIEWRequest Consultation

Fill out the form 24/7 and our legal team will immediately reach out to you about your situation


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney David Mara who has more than 20 years of legal experience in employment law.

  • I remember screaming at a dear friend of mine saying, “WHY WON’T THE INSURANCE COVER MY TREATMENT!” He said, “…because they know if they do it will increase your settlement.” I said, “WHAT SETTLEMENT! I JUST WANT TO GET TREATMENT! I DIDN’T ASK FOR A SETTLEMENT!” Somewhere I f...

    Mara Law Firm ClientSan Francisco

  • He represented me and many old CO-workers. They were very professional & I’d recommend them to anyone. Great Lawyers for the forgotten working man.

    ScottSan Francisco

  • I would definitely recommend David and really appreciated all the hard work he contributed. David really went the extra mile to help his customers. We were very happy and satisfied with his services. Thank you David!

    Mara Law Firm ClientSan Francisco

  • Mr. Mara was a pleasure to work with. He kept me in the loop. Can’t say enough how good it feels to have someone fighting for you, giving you a voice.

    AlbertSan Francisco

  • I was blown away by the results my case got. It far exceeded my expectations. Not only do you get someone who is a great professional; but he will fight for what you deserve. I was uncertain in the beginning; now I’m a believer. Mr. Mara is also personable. Lisa his paralegal was tremendous throughout the whole process. Sh...

    Jerome HarrisSan Francisco

  • Mr. Mara and his firm helped me file a claim for death benefits on behalf of my late husband. I was very pleased with his knowledge, research, and representation regarding my DBA claim for death benefits. I would absolutely recommend him and his associates to my friends, family, and others needing an attorney who specializes in ...

    Sally A ChandSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara did an outstanding job on my DBA case. Dave, I personally want to thank you for guiding me in the right direction and having a successful case outcome. God bless you for all the effort you put into my DBA case. Words can’t describe how thankful I am. Thank you for helping injured overseas contractors.

    Jim Joned San Francisco

  • Mr. Mara and his staff were very professional and I would highly recommend Mr. Mara. Mr. Mara had my best interests in settling my case and I am very appreciative of all he and his staff did for me. If I ever needed help or had simple questions, Mr. Mara and his staff were always available to take my calls and help me. Highly re...

    DebSan Francisco

  • Dave Mara comes with a very high recommendation. He took a workmans compensation case for me and really handled it well. It was an unclear case and a new issue that the WC most likely had never seen. He kept me up to date with the long confusing process and was very understanding and sympathetic to my plight (I was the victim of...

    Linda DSan Francisco

View All Testimonials

Request your confidential & free case consultation

If you are in need of employment litigation attorney in California or have been injured overseas while under a military contract and are in need of a defense base act attorney. Please fill out the form below and contact us immediately for a FREE consultation.

all fields are required*