December 18, 2018 Substantive Law

Independent Contractors Might Actually Be Employees

By Kelso L. Anderson

This article originally appeared in Litigation News, Fall 2018 (44:1) at 11-13. ©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Workers who have customarily been viewed as independent contractors may be employees under wage orders, entitled to certain minimum wages, benefits, and basic work conditions reserved for employees, according to the California Supreme Court. Holding that the onus is on an employer to disprove that a worker is an employee and not an independent contractor, the court stressed that its ruling provides predictability in a long uncertain area of law. While ABA Section of Litigation leaders agree that the decision provides rudder, they also think it will prompt businesses in the “gig economy” to redefine how they classify workers in the “usual course of [their] business.”

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