Unique Experience. Consistent Results.

What is an independent contractor vs an employee in California?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2021 | Employment Law |

As a worker, it’s important for you to be classified correctly. You want to make sure that you are either an employee or independent contractor. What’s the difference? At the core, an independent contractor is contracted in to perform a job according to set terms. Employees usually work directly for an employer on a schedule and don’t have as much flexibility in how they do their jobs.

Independent contractors are their own bosses. Even though they work for others, those others are more like clients than employers. Falsely identifying someone as an independent contractor is problematic, because someone who is an employee has access to additional protections that an independent contractor does not have, such as benefits and workers’ compensation.

The ABC test helps prove which role you’re in

The ABC test is the test used to determine if a person is an employee or independent contractor. With the ABC test, a worker is an employee unless:

  • They are free from the direction or control of the hiring company in connection to how they do their work
  • They do work outside the normal course of the hiring entity’s business
  • They usually work in an independently established business or trade of the same type as the work that is being performed for the new client

Another test that is used, the Borello test, is more thorough and has more detailed information about what makes someone independent, such as if they hold themselves out as if they are an independent contractor or the length of time the job is performed. Using these two tests together gives the best outcome in terms of determining someone’s employment (or lack thereof).

Get to know your rights

In employment law, there are many angles to consider when determining an employee’s status. If you are working for a business and believe that you may be an employee and not an independent contractor, get to know the requirements in California. If you have been classified incorrectly, then the business may owe you additional compensation, such as benefits, retirement or other protections that you were not able to access in the past.