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Part 2: Understanding whether you are an independent contractor

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This is the second part of a two-part blog on the difference between an independent contractor and employee in California. When you understand the distinction, you are in a better position to understand your rights as a worker. At the Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr., we know the finer points of the law and how California’s laws are designed to protect individual workers.

The test for whether you are an independent contract or an employee is not based solely on the type of contract you have signed. For example, you may sign a contract with a business to provide a certain type of personal service and the contract may read “Independent Contractor Agreement” at the top and be filled with terminology and provisions that would lead you to believe you were should be treated as an independent contractor. However, if during the course of providing personal services to the business, you are in fact working as an employee, then you are in fact an employee and not an independent contractor. In other words, the presence of a contract is not dispositive.

In California, certain factual considerations are made when determining the nature of a relationship. If the business you work with tends to manage and control the day-to-day details of your work, but the nature of your job does not require such control and your work is necessary for the company’s success, then you are more likely to be an employee. Factors that might suggest you are an independent contractor, on the other hand, include working at a location apart from the business, providing your own tools and equipment, not working under a supervisor, being paid per job rather than by the hour, and completing jobs that require a skill or license that is unique or are of the kind that would usually be performed by an independent contractor. While none of these factors are determinative one way or the other, this information may be useful in helping you have a better idea whether you are in fact an employee or independent contractor.

Understanding your proper classification as a California worker is empowering because you may be entitled to benefits you are not presently realizing or greater freedom than that to which you have been accustomed. California law is designed to protect your interests as a worker.

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