Independent Contractors And Workers’ Compensation

February 22, 2019
Sacks & Zolonz, LLP
employers workers compensation defense

When you own a business, we recognize that not everyone who does work for you needs to be classified as an employee. Many times, companies hire independent contractors or freelancers to handle jobs that their own employees do not have expertise in. There is nothing wrong with this. However, you need to be aware that this may cause issues when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. If an independent contractor gets hurt and claims they are an employee, you may find yourself in hot water with the law in California.

At Sacks & Zolonz, LLP, we want to help you get through this. We understand the hardships that go into operating a business and will assist you through any claims of wrongdoing. When you need a Los Angeles employers workers compensation defense attorney, you can count on us.

What Are Independent Contractors?

If we go right to the California Department of Industrial Relations website, we learn that there is no set definition of what an independent contractor is. That is not particularly helpful for employers. There are some guidelines that have been established through court cases that help determine if a person needs to be classified as an employee or an independent contractor:

  • Is the person performing work that the company has no expertise in?
  • Is the work being performed similarly to the work the company does?
  • Does the company provide the materials, tools, or other supplies or does the independent contractor use their own materials?
  • Are special skills required for the work to be completed?
  • Does the company have direct supervision of the independent contractor’s actions?

These are just a few of the considerations. Generally, independent contractors are just that – independent. They are not under the direct authority of a company’s supervisors and are brought in to do work that the company cannot otherwise do themselves.

Improper Employee Classification

There are times when employers classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying their part of the worker’s taxes and other benefits. This also allows them to avoid paying for the contractors workers compensation insurance. In many cases, it is against the law in California to do this. Employers who improperly classify workers as independent contractors can face stiff penalties in the state.

If you make regular and legal use of independent contractors, you need to know whether or not they themselves have workers compensation coverage. If they get injured, you could find yourself facing a personal injury claim as well as charges from the state.

What You Can Do Now

The most important thing you can do if you have been accused of not insuring an employee is secure legal assistance. The penalties for these charges can be harsh and include both monetary fines and even jail time. At Sacks & Zolonz, LLP, we recognize that good people get accused of doing things they did not in fact do. If you need a Los Angeles employer’s workers’ compensation defense attorney, you can contact us for a consultation by clicking here or calling 310-216-7778. Let us help you get back to day-to-day operations.

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