This is the next post in our series on issues faced by independent contractors in Santa Ana, California. Our last article discussed bringing suit for misclassification of independent contractors. It is important to recognize that the process one will face in Court is similar to that of other civil cases. In this post we will discuss the damages a victim may recover after having been misclassified by their employer. One point that cannot be stressed enough is that you should contact an attorney immediately if you believe your rights have been violated.
There are many reasons why a company may wish to utilize independent contractors rather than hiring employees. In many situations one may simply be doing “spot work” and the use of a contractor makes the most business sense. There are, however, situations in which a company tries to save money by bypassing labor laws. This bypass takes the form of misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor. One who was misclassified may be entitled to the following:
- Repayment for job-related expenses
- Overtime pay in many situations
- Compensation for meal breaks and rest periods which employees are entitled to
- Additional financial penalties, of up to $25,000, if the employer was intentionally misclassifying the employee
- Additional amounts offered under California law
Determining the amounts to be awarded for each of these pay types is an issue for the jury. At trial the jurors will consider evidence regarding the number of hours worked, the amount which the company normally pays employees, an expert’s opinion as to what the worker should have made (if necessary), as well as other evidence.
It is crucial that you retain a lawyer familiar in handling such matters so that your case is presented properly. Your counsel will need to utilize the discovery process to obtain company documents regarding the amount of work performed, pay records for those within the organization, as well as evidence which will show whether the misclassification was intentional. Such evidence may include emails, internal documents, etc. By retaining a firm with experience in such matters you help to increase the chances that all necessary evidence will be presented.
Contact our Santa Ana office today to speak with an Orange County employment law attorney. Glen Duvel has extensive experience in handling independent contractor disputes stemming from misclassification. We are ready to assist you. We also service 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, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.