This is the next post in our series on handling issues faced by independent contractors in Orange County, California. Our last article discussed determining whether you were an independent contractor or an employee. It is important to understand that you may be an employee even if your employer claims otherwise. In this article we will discuss the process of bringing a lawsuit against your employer. If you believe you have been misclassified then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our Santa Ana office today to speak with an employment law attorney.
If your employer has misclassified you as an independent contractor then it may be possible to resolve the matter without filing a lawsuit. A labor lawyer can contact the company directly and discuss the situation with management. If a resolution can be reached, which prevents going to Court, then you can save a great deal of time, money, and aggravation. If an agreement cannot be reached then litigation will be necessary.
Cases involving the claims of an independent contractor are heard in the Orange County Circuit Court. The case will begin with the filing of a Complaint. This is a formal document in which the worker states how their rights were violated and the relief (compensation) which they are requesting. The employer will file an Answer. A process known as “discovery,” which is how information is obtained in a lawsuit, will begin shortly thereafter. In an employment law case information obtained may include internal company documents, emails, pay records, etc. If the case does not settle then the matter will proceed to trial once discovery is completed.
Trial will be somewhat similar to how the process is often portrayed in the media. A jury will be selected and the case will be presided over by a Judge. The employee (who would be the Plaintiff) will present their case first. The employer will then present their defense. The employee will follow with “rebuttal” evidence. Such evidence may only address issues raised by the employer; new issues may not be raised on rebuttal. Once all evidence has been presented then closing arguments will be made to the jury. The jurors will decide whether the employee was actually an independent contractor and the amount of compensation to be paid. It cannot be stressed enough that this is a highly complicated process and the Court’s procedural rules will be strictly enforced. It is important that you retain counsel who has experience in such matters.
Glen Duvel devotes a substantial portion of his practice to employment related issues. If you have been incorrectly labeled as an independent contractor, and you wish to file a dispute, then contact our office today to speak with a Santa Ana employment lawyer. We service the Orange County areas of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.