Independent Contractor or Employee? How you should be classified

Not all people who perform work for a company are employees. Instead, they may be independent contractors. Whether a person is an employee or independent contractor usually depends on the kind of work the worker performs and how the employer supervises that work.

Employers sometimes label workers as independent contractors when they are actually employees. That’s because employers who use independent contractors rather than employees don’t have to pay payroll taxes for independent contractors, and are not liable for payments under workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, or social security for their independent contractors. This fact sheet describes how to find out if you are an independent contractor and explains what you should do if you think you have been wrongly classified as an independent contractor by your employer.

For further information about your employment rights, contact the Workers’ Rights Clinic.


This Fact Sheet is intended to provide accurate, general information regarding legal rights relating to employment in California. Yet because laws and legal procedures are subject to frequent change and differing interpretations, the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center cannot ensure the information in this Fact Sheet is current nor be responsible for any use to which it is put. Do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney or the appropriate agency about your rights in your particular situation.