November 23, 2018 feature

Independent Contractors Might Actually Be Employees

Broad view of wage order places burden on employers

By Kelso L. Anderson

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.

The employer must prove that a worker is not an employee but an independent contractor

The employer must prove that a worker is not an employee but an independent contractor

Photo Illustration by Elmarie Jara | Getty Images

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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