Employees have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits in the state of California. However, some employers may attempt to get around this requirement by classifying their workers as independent contractors, who are not eligible for workers’ comp. Still, just because an employer says you are an independent contractor does not make it so. You have to meet certain requirements in order to be classified as an independent contractor and not as an employee.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, the state actually has no concrete definition of an independent contractor. However, courts take some general guidelines into account when determining if you should be treated as an employee. Generally, an independent contractor exercises greater control over his or her work than an employee does. It is unlikely you are an independent contractor if the party paying you has control over how you work and the details of how your work should be performed.
How you are paid is also a factor. Employers pay their workers a salary or an hourly wage. Also, employers deduct money from a worker’s salary to go into Social Security. Employers have tighter control over when and where an employee can work. As opposed to an independent contractor, an employee can be required to work particular days and hours. Independent contractors also have their own supplies or tools, whereas employees typically receive them from an employer.
It is possible for an employer to incorrectly classify a worker as an independent contractor by accident, but some workplaces do intentionally mislabel workers to get out of paying certain taxes or to avoid providing workers’ compensation. If you are denied workers’ comp because your employer has mislabeled you as an independent contractor, you may benefit from the assistance of a workers’ comp attorney to help you claim the benefits you need if you are injured.
This article is written to provide general information on the topic of denied workers’ comp claims. It does not offer any legal advice.