Independent Contractor: Is It Worth the Risk?

Humboldt County employers should know that the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) has been cracking down on employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors. In California, the DSLE has various enforcement responsibilities, including the inspection of workplaces for wage and hour violations, the adjudication of wage claims and retaliation complaints, as well as enforcing wage rates.

Recently, the DLSE has been taking enforcement action against employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors—primarily in an effort to avoid paying wages due employees. This month, the DLSE issued citations totaling more than $1.5 million to two janitorial companies for multiple violations, all of which stem from the companies’ misclassifying employees as independent contractors. The two companies were cited for failing to pay minimum wage, failing to pay overtime, and not furnishing itemized wage statements. The citations issued include assessments to recover the minimum wages owed employees, overtime and other premiums due to workers. The total amount the DLSE will return to employees from the companies is $1,775,765, with most employees owed $30,000 or more.

The DLSE’s press release can be found here.