Misclassification of Independent Contractors | Mann & Elias

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Wage theft and payment violations occur in various workplaces and industries across the U.S. The most common claims involve an employer, or companies’ failure to pay per federal and state law. As an employee, you deserve to get compensated for the wages you have earned, especially when you’re on commission. If you have been denied wages, it is best to retain a workplace lawyer in Los Angeles to assist you in your fight for fair pay.

Some employers tend to misclassify employees as contractors to evade their legal responsibilities, such as:

  • Withholding payroll taxes.
  • Contributing to payroll taxes.
  • Providing workers’ compensation.
  • Contributing to the state unemployment insurance program.

Whereas other employers try to dodge their responsibilities under wage and hour laws. As an independent contractor you may experience the following scenarios:

  • There is no overtime pay.
  • Hourly pay is less than minimum wage.
  • Meal and rest breaks are not provided.
  • Paychecks are delivered inconsistently.

If you were hired or classified as an independent contractor, you can file a claim for unpaid wages against the business you work for because it is against the law for any employer to deny them. Whether it was intentional, or accidental consult with a commission dispute lawyer in Los Angeles to review your case and offer helpful legal advice.

Are You Misclassified as an Independent Contractor?

If you work on commission as a salesperson, for example, you may be misclassified as an independent contractor if you notice a discrepancy in your pay. Getting paid for earned commissions may not always be a direct and straightforward process, but it should happen on time. Unless you work outside of the office as a traveling salesperson or real estate agent, you should meet with your manager to discuss an adjustment.

When you file a wage claim, government agencies and courts assess the work you contribute to the company. Those that provide services that the company was established to deliver to customers are considered employees. Independent contractors are measured on whether they provide one-time services. A key difference is what happens behind the scenes on the payroll. Most businesses must withhold and pay payroll taxes for their sales team. When classified as an independent contractor, an employer can avoid payroll taxes. An experienced attorney for commission-based pay laws is a great resource if you suspect this is happening.

Unlike a sales employee, contractors have a legal right to accept or decline work, determine how many clients to take on, set a fixed minimum rate, establish how to do the job, and when to do the task at hand. For example, an independent contractor that specializes in appliance repair may have 15 clients per week. They can determine whether to take a certain job and negotiate a schedule and price for the labor. Because they are normally working for themselves and are hired based on special expertise the client lacks, there is more flexibility.

On the other hand, employees work for one or more employers in a business and adhere to their rules and regulations. Commissions are assigned and direct tasks are normally supervised by an employer. Unlike a contractor, they have no say in the process, nor are they an integral part of the business. Whether the business profits greatly because of the commission(s) does not equate to sharing the profits unless specified in a contract. However, you should be getting paid.

If you suspect you were misclassified, you should consult with an employment attorney immediately to determine if you were and how much your claim is worth. Read on to learn more about the potential wage claims you and your attorney for unpaid commissions in LA can file.

Potential Wage Claims for Misclassification

There are a few claims you can file against your employer for unpaid wages outside of commission. Depending on your case, you can seek damages regarding:

  • Minimum wage – In California, the minimum wage has been raised to $14.00. As an employee, you are entitled to get paid at or above the rate.
  • Overtime – If you are entitled to receive overtime, and an employer refused to pay you for working over 40 hours a week, you can take legal action. In California, you have a right to overtime as well when you work more than 8 hours a day.
  • Unpaid work time – As an employee, you should be getting paid for all the time you’ve worked or contributed to the business. For example, if you were asked to work during your lunch the company must pay you for that time.
  • Meal and rest breaks – While federal law does not require companies to offer meal or rest breaks, 20 minutes or less can be included in your pay if your employer allows. In California, non-exempt employees must follow, and employers must enforce strict meal/break policies.
  • Vacation and sick days – If your employer allows a payout for unused paid sick days and vacation time, you should see an adjustment in your final paycheck. If you did not receive a reimbursement for unused time, you can time a claim against your employer.

California law allows you to sue for unpaid commissions and pursue a claim for other damages (including attorney’s fees) if your employer is unreasonable. In a commission dispute, your employer has until the next scheduled paycheck to add the missing commission amount. At Mann & Elias, we will make sure that your rights are protected.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email info@mannelias.com.

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