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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.

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