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Are independent contractors different than contractors hired through an employment agency in the eyes of the law?

Los Angeles, CA |

Are independent contractors different than contractors hired through an employment agency in the eyes of the law?? Also, what is the federal equivalent of CA's Fair Employment Housing Act (FEHA), and are the federal laws only applicable to "employees" & not independent contractors, (assuming worker was correctly classified as an independent contractor)?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Contractors hired through an employment agency may be true independent contractors or they may be employees of the agency they work for, but independent contractors of the entity that retained the agency itself (slightly confusing, I know).

    Generally, the employment protections of federal law, like Title VII, only apply to employees, not independent contractors. That said, it is not always clear who is a true independent contractor.


  2. Generally speaking, both Federal and State employee protections only apply to employees, not independent contractors. However, the analysis of whether a person is an employee versus an independent contract is complex and centers around the degree of control and supervision the employer exercises over the person.

    For more info go to:

    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-(Self-Employed)-or-Employee%3F


  3. Both employers and employees would generally prefer the independent contractor status because it’s simpler and permits the worker to avoid taxes (illegally). Only the IRS wants people to be employees to get the withholding and better reports. So the trend for years has been to make the test for independent contractors more stringent. The tests are extensive and difficult to apply. Some have said that the only true independents these days are lawyers and CPAs. Certainly hiring through an employment agency will not help the independent claim. Unless you are in business and have numerous clients, you have little chance of independence holding up. So ask a tax lawyer or a CPA about your particular facts.

    DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system, its terms and conditions. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. I am admitted only in California. (Bryant) Keith Martin sbbizlaw.com

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