Contractor Agreements Lawyer in Santa Clarita
Firm Experienced in Employment Law
Poole Shaffery represents companies or corporations in all aspects of business that includes employment counseling, employment contracts, non-competition agreements, employment litigation, contractor agreements, and other areas that involve employment and business relationships.
Employers may mistakenly enter into contractor agreements with parties and leave themselves open to violations of the laws that govern the employer employee relationship. It is important to review contractor agreements to ensure that the contracted party is actually an independent contractor and does not fall into the employee category. If a contractor does not meet the criteria to establish the status then the employer is vulnerable to claims, fees, penalties and other repercussions that can be costly and time consuming. Two attorneys and one paralegal are usually assigned to each case and work as a team with the goal of achieving the best result for their clients. You should involve your employment counseling lawyer when dealing with contractor agreements and other issues of employment law.
Differentiating Between Contractor and Employee
Some employers assign independent contractor status to workers to avoid payment of worker's compensation, overtime, provide rest and meal breaks, and other labor code requirements. An exact definition does not exist for independent contractor but there are certain criteria specific to distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor and can include the following:
- Invested own resources to acquire equipment, tools, supplies, a workplace and the contractor's operation is separate from the employer's business
- The contractor's activities are not a regular part of the employer's business but the contractor's skills are required to do the work
- The contractor has the freedom to profit or lose depending on his management abilities
- Length of time and permanence of contractor's service to the employer, method of payment, and the type of service provided to the employer
- The parties understand and agree that they enter into an employment relationship
The right to control a worker is a deciding factor when determining the status of an employee or contractor. If the principal retains control over a business operation that relies on the duties of the worker as a major part of the operation and the employer must maintain detailed control such as in scheduling and other requirements, then the worker falls into the category of an employee.
Employment Counseling Attorney and Contractor Agreements
Seeking legal advice and guidance when entering into contractor agreements and ensuring the workers are correctly classified can help avoid problems in the future. If a business enterprise has wrongly assigned independent contractor status to employees, they are open to claims and lawsuits and if the relationship abruptly ends then the employees may claim retaliation against the employer. Understanding and correctly categorizing workers is an important part of employer protection and a shield against future repercussions.
Employers are required to maintain workers' compensation, pay at least minimum wage, pay overtime, provide rest and meal breaks, and provide a safe work environment. An employee can claim discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, denial of overtime pay and/or wages, denial of required breaks, and more depending on the circumstances. A disgruntled employee can make these claims through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). An independent contractor must make claims through the court system.
Issuing a 1099 or signing a contractor agreement does not establish the independent contractor status. Common independent contractors include building contractors, realtors, consultants, and IT workers to name a few.
The Santa Clarita business attorneys at the firm are experienced in the various contracts and agreements between employers and employees and employers and contractors. They can review current contracts in use and help with improvements that can provide additional protections to employers against claims and lawsuits.
Call Poole Shaffery for legal advice, employment counseling, and review of employment contracts.