Sommers Schwartz is a powerhouse litigation firm that has recovered more than one billion dollars for our clients. When your future is on the line, our team will fight for you.

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Am I an Employee or an “Independent Contractor” under California law?

When a business needs additional help it has two options, it can hire an employee or it can hire another business. Additionally, some businesses only comprise a single person who provides specialized services. These one-man businesses may be referred to as “Independent Contractors.” When a business hires an employee, he or she is subject to California’s labor laws. Independent contractors are not. This creates an incentive for dishonest businesses to mislabel their employees as independent contractors. For more information about California Labor laws, click here.

Under California law, determining whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor is different the corresponding federal standard. In its 2018 decision, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court adopted the “ABC test,” for differentiating an employee from a contractor. Under the ABC Test, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the employer can show that all three of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work;
  • the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  • the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

It is the second condition that may be the most important: a business cannot take portions of its work force, working on critical aspects of the business, and reclassify them as contractors. For example, a tutoring company cannot make its tutor’s independent contractors. But, that same tutoring company make be able to outsource its payroll to an outside contractor.

Note: that individuals are presumed to be an employee unless the ABC test is meet. This means it is for the employer to show that person is an independent contractor, not the employee.

Important Note: Certain app-based drivers are considered independent contractors despite the ABC test, for more information regarding app-based drivers click here.

A Trusted Authority

Our attorneys have been featured on local and national media outlets, including:

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Jason Thompson filed a suit on my mother’s behalf.

Jason Thompson filed a suit on my mother’s behalf, and we received a nice settlement. He was very kind and professional, and the office staff was very helpful and easy to work with.

You went above and beyond expectations.

Our business is very complex with the different manufacturers we deal with and the rebate programs associated with them, and we feel the time, effort and your timeliness in understanding the different aspects of our case helped us with a reasonable resolution.

You did a great job.

Thank for all you did in my case, Kevin. You did a great job.

I greatly appreciate your assistance throughout this process.

I’m happy to put this case behind me once and for all. I greatly appreciate your assistance throughout this process. Thank you, Tad! I’m happily employed now and am enjoying a fresh start.

For five and one-half years you never tossed in the towel.

The very fact that you maintained and were able to share a belief in my unique circumstances was remarkable along with your stellar professionalism. You delivered and you have my deepest appreciation for your efforts.

I recommend you without reservation.

I want to extend to both you and Tad a final thank you for your diligence in defending my case over the past several months. You put a great deal of time and energy into my defense, included me in the decision-making process, communicated with me regularly, and I am pleased with the outcome.

Andy Dragovic is an outstanding trial attorney!

I needed representation from an attorney who was empathetic and effective. Andrija Dragovic proved to be that attorney time and time again. He was clearly dedicated to finding justice, explored my options every step of the way, and respected all my decisions regarding the case.

Do you want the best? Hire Matt Curtis.

I was referred to Matt Curtis by an attorney’s office in the city where I live. From the first telephone conversation with Matt and his team, I felt confident I didn’t need to look any further for an attorney.

Your firm has tremendous skill and ethics.

Over the years I have referred cases to your firm in general and to Norm specifically knowing that the client would be handled with care and competence. I have always found that to be the case.

Our Clients Say It Best

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40 5-star reviews on Google