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How to properly classify an employee

by | Feb 20, 2021 | Employment Law

It isn’t uncommon for California companies to attempt to label their workers as independent contractors. By doing so, they are not required to provide benefits such as health insurance or a 401(k). However, it is important to understand that businesses themselves do not get to decide how to classify their workers. Instead, this determination must be made in accordance with clear IRS guidelines.

Does your employer decide when you work?

Generally speaking, independent contractors set their own hours. Therefore, if a company has you on a set schedule, there is a good chance that you are actually an employee. Of course, clients can impose project completion benchmarks without creating an employment relationship. For instance, a client requiring you to write 20 articles a month for a corporate blog doesn’t typically constitute a set schedule. However, demanding that you work on those articles from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays likely would.

Does your employer provide equipment or other resources?

Independent contractors are typically required to purchase their own computers, vehicles or other tools needed to complete a job. Conversely, employers typically provide employees with whatever they need to perform their job duties.

Is the relationship a permanent one?

Courts will often look at the permanency of the relationship between a worker and a business when determining how it should be labeled. If an employment contract specifies that you’ll only be with the company for a period of days, weeks or months, you may be an independent contractor. However, it’s not uncommon for temporary workers to be labeled as employees. An employment rights attorney may be able to review your case to determine if you should be classified as an employee or contractor.

If you believe that a company has improperly classified you as an independent contractor, it may be a good idea to speak with an attorney. They may be able to take steps to help you obtain a favorable outcome in an employment law case.