Both Independent Contractor and Employee

The Labor Commissioner’s Office determined that I am an employee in response to a wage claim I filed and won, but the Employment Development Department (EDD) said that I’m an independent contractor and denied my claim for unemployment insurance benefits. How is it possible to be determined both an independent contractor and an employee?

Due to the fact that there is no set definition for “independent contractor,” you can be considered an independent contractor in regards to one particular area of the law, yet be considered an employee in regards to another specific area of the law. Whether you are found to be an employee or an independent contractor depends on the specific area of the law that your claim is applied to. When employment status is the issue at hand, that agency may use a different type of test to determine if you are an independent contractor or employee, which could result in a different decision. Therefore, it is possible that you can be considered an independent contractor in regards to one law, and be considered an employee in respect to a different law.

Example:

Joe filed a wage claim with the Labor Commissioner’s office and won. He was determined to be an employee by the Labor Commissioner and found to be entitled to the benefits received by employees. Joe filed a claim for unemployment insurance benefits with the Employment Development Department and lost. The EDD decided that Joe is not an employee, but rather an independent contractor. This is possible, because Joe filed claims in 2 different departments and those departments have different guidelines they follow to determine if someone is an independent contractor or an employee. There is no set definition for “independent contractor,” so in California, determining if Joe is an independent contractor or an employee depends on how his case is applied to a specific law. If you would like more information about the difference between an independent contractor and an employee or you want to file a wage claim in CA, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer who specializes in employment law in CA.

If you have a question about California employee or independent contractor law or want to file a wage claim in California, contact us now.