Wage theft is not always obvious. Although employers may deduct wages directly from pay, there are more “under-the-radar” methods they may use to steal your hard-earned money. For example, employers may misclassify you as a managerial employee or independent contractor. Depending on how you are misclassified, your employer can skimp out on overtime pay or other benefits. This type of wage theft is known as employee misclassification.
For those who are misclassified as independent contractors, employers can avoid paying the following costs:
- Employers are not required to provide workers’ compensation, overtime pay, unemployment benefits or health insurance to independent contractors.
- Independent contractors are required to pay for their own equipment.
- Employers do not have to pay certain taxes for independent contractors.
- Independent contractors may be paid by the job, meaning employers may pay less than minimum wage.
Employers can avoid paying the following benefits by misclassifying workers as managerial employees:
- Employers may not be required to pay overtime to nonexempt employees who are managers. They may force these employees to work without breaks or for more than 40 hours per week without the proper compensation.
How Can You Spot Employee Misclassification?
There are some warning signs when it comes to employee misclassification. Independent contractors are paid for individual jobs that are typically not an integral part of business operations. These workers also have a greater level of autonomy than workers classified as employees. This means independent contractors should have more say over their work hours.
If you are classified as an independent contractor and have very little autonomy or carry out essential business functions, you may want to speak with an attorney. The same goes for situations where workers are pushed into job duties with no authority over others, but are still classified as managers or forced to work unpaid overtime.
In both cases, workers should consult with one of the Los Angeles employment law attorneys at the Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob to look at options for recovering stolen wages. Employment misclassification is not always easy to spot, and there are many grey areas that would not be apparent to people who are not well-versed in California labor laws.