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How should I handle being misclassified as an independent contractor for the last 2 years?

Glendale, CA |

I work at a non-profit organization where I am certainly treated like an employee, but I am taxed as as an independent contractor. I am dependent on office equipment, I need to take direction from my boss, I do the same work as official employees, and yet I am not ever offered any benefits like medical, sick leave, or vacation. I know that this is in violation of the law now and I need advice on how to proceed with my bosses without aggravating them in such a way that I would lose my job. I am severely underpaid as well, but that is probably legal so long as it is above minimum wage. Any advice will help. Thanks so much.

Attorney Answers 3


You can file a complaint for misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement online. For useful useful information and a link to the online complaint form go to:

You can also consult an attorney, who can assist you and you may be able to recover your reasonable legal fees. Labor Code 218.5

If you are an employee, you have additional legal protections against retaliation for asserting your legal rights.

If you are dependent on your job, you consider considering document your claim and waiting until near the end of the statute of limitations period, which may be three years through the labor commissioner and four years if you sue under the unfair business practices law.

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Mr. Kane has provided a good response. I would like to emphasize that decisions like this need to be based on your life needs. If you are financially dependent on this job, you should consider keeping very good records and bringing a claim after you are no longer dependent on the income from this job. You will be able to reach back three years from the date you file your claim, and four years back if you proceed in superior court.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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I agree with my colleagues above. Keep good documentation concerning your current job and the duties you are performing. If this is your full time employment and you are dependent upon it for your income then that is something you need to take into consideration because your job will be in jeopardy if you file suit immediately (the rub, of course, is that the statute of limitations will limit your claims if you eventually do sue). You may want to consider looking for a better job. Once you land it, you will likely be in a better position to proceed with litigation against your present employer (as you will no longer be dependent upon it). I wish you the best of luck.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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