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State Supreme Court passes independent contractor standard

On April 30, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that could prevent or make it more difficult for companies to treat employees as independent contractors. These workers do not get the same benefits as regular employees. For example, they are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime pay, insurance and workers compensation, among other benefits.

The specific case that was brought before the court involved Dynamex, a courier service that changed the status of all of its employees to independent contractors back in 2004. Some workers filed a lawsuit, stating that the company controlled which assignments they took and other aspects, like their pay rate and uniform requirements. The workers won the lawsuit in the lower courts. The California Supreme Court also upheld the decision when the case was brought before it.

Additionally, the court adopted a standard that could be used to determine if a worker was an employee or a contractor. In order for a company to prove that their workers are independent contractors, they must show that the worker provides a service that is not controlled by the company, that the service being provided is not part of the company's core business and that the contractor provides or offers the service to more than one company.

If a company cannot prove that a worker is an independent contractor under the standards, the employee is entitled to pay as defined under the state's wage and hour laws. If the company fails to pay the worker the amount that they are owed or fail to provide other benefits that the worker is entitled to, an employment law attorney may help file a claim against the company. In some cases, the attorney may help the employee seek back pay, overtime or even vacation time that the employee may be entitled to.

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