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Independent Contract Lawyer California

Colby Law Firm has a long-standing reputation for representing independent contractors in California. Our attorneys specialize in the intricacies of independent contractor law in California, primarily focusing on Assembly Bill 5 and misclassification. If an independent contractor is doing the job of an employee, and being held to employee standards and requirements, they are being misclassified and likely missing out on wages and benefits that an employee would receive.

Colby Law Firm has had great success representing freelancers and helping our clients understand their rights as independent contractors.

Understanding Independent Contract Law in California

An independent contractor is an individual who provides specialized services to various clients. Unlike their counterparts in traditional employment, these self-starters enjoy more autonomy in executing their tasks. This flexibility extends beyond the work itself; it also affects the administrative aspects of their career.

For instance, independent contractors don’t have their taxes withheld by clients. Instead, they bear the responsibility of settling their tax obligations independently. A key trait of independent contractors is that they are typically enlisted to perform specific, often project-based tasks. This employment model offers a unique blend of freedom and responsibility, making it a popular choice among many professionals.

With independence comes the need to be aware of specific laws and regulations governing this type of work, such as California Assembly Bill 5.

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Assembly Bill 5 and Its Implication for Independent Contractors

California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) is a important piece of legislation that has significantly altered the landscape for independent contractors nationwide. Coming into law in January 2020, it established a new standard for distinguishing between employees and independent contractors: the “ABC” test.

To qualify an individual as an independent contractor, businesses must be able to demonstrate the following:

  • The worker is not under their control
  • They operate outside the usual line of business
  • They are involved in a self-established trade or profession

The reverberations of AB5 have been far-reaching, sparking a series of legal disputes involving companies whose business models heavily depend on independent contractors. The enactment of AB5 underscores the importance of correct worker classification and the potential legal consequences for companies that fail to comply.

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Misclassification and Why It’s Illegal

When an employer intentionally classifies a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee, it’s called misclassification. But why is it deemed illegal? The primary reason is that it infringes upon labor laws.

By classifying workers as independent contractors, companies bypass the need to provide certain employee benefits such as:

  • Overtime pay 
  • Minimum wage 
  • Rest periods 
  • Reimbursements for work-related expenses

This unlawful practice not only violates the law but also robs misclassified workers of their rightful entitlements and safeguards. Misclassification could lead to the imposition of fines and penalties on the erring company, along with compensation for back pay and other possible damages.

Understanding these laws is crucial for independent contractors to navigate their professional landscape confidently and legally. Colby Law Firm is an invaluable resource in this area.

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Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation

Colby Law Firm is here to help. We’re happy to provide you with a free case evaluation and discuss next steps with you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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Challenges Faced by Independent Contractors

Independent contractors are often self-starters, freelancers who’ve taken the reins of their professional lives into their own hands. Rather than being directed by an employer, these individuals call the shots, dictating the terms of their work, setting their schedules, and maintaining control over their work environment. 

While independent contractors enjoy a certain degree of flexibility, they are not provided the same level of benefits and protections offered to traditional employees. This means no minimum wage safeguards, no overtime pay, and no automatic coverage for unemployment insurance or workers’ compensation. 

The distinction between an employee and an independent contractor may seem blurry at times, but getting it right is crucial. For this reason, both businesses and workers alike must understand the defining characteristics of an independent contractor, as it impacts everything from work conditions to legal protections.

Penalties for Misclassification

For anyone concerned they are being misclassified, these laws can offer some clarity. They can provide the tools to challenge unjust employment practices and reclaim lost wages and benefits.

California doesn’t take misclassification lightly. The state views misclassification as a serious violation. California law allows for civil penalties to be charged to any employer that is intentionally misclassifying workers. This fine can be anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 per violation. Additionally, if the courts deem there is a pattern of willful misclassification, they may impose an additional fine upwards of $25,000.

Whether it’s an honest mistake or a maneuver to sidestep paying employee benefits and taxes, misclassification is an issue that deserves attention and awareness from all parties in the employment field.

The implications are indeed multi-faceted and further underline the importance of understanding and navigating these laws proficiently with the help of an experienced and reputable law firm.

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Free Case Evaluations

If you think you’re a victim of wrongful termination, contact Colby Law Firm today. Our team will provide a free case evaluation to help you determine if your termination was wrongful or valid.

Why Choose Colby Law Firm Your Independent Contractor Needs?

Understanding AB5 and misclassification law can be a daunting task; an independent contract lawyer can be your guide. Our lawyers at Colby Law Firm have the knowledge and expertise to assist both businesses and individual contractors through the intricacies of these laws. We offer sound advice on correctly classifying workers, ensuring that businesses align with California’s labor laws and avoid potential legal penalties.

If you are a worker who feels that your employer has misclassified you, Colby Law can help shed light on your rights. We can guide you through the process of potentially recouping lost wages and benefits. We have a breadth of experience working with Assembly Bill 5 and misclassification cases and attaining favorable results for our clients. 

Our firm is committed to representing freelancers and laborers, bringing passion and a dedication to justice. We specialize in all contract-related issues, aiding both workers and employers in clearly defining the roles and responsibilities for a successful workplace environment.

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Colby Law Firm’s Approach to Independent Contractor Cases

Our attorneys at Colby Law Firm advocate for their clients and offer skilled representation and a passionate love for the law. We offer case evaluations and legal advice while developing an individualized strategy for each case. Our experienced counsel navigates complex independent contract laws to provide our clients with the best possible strategy, even in complex cases. 

At Colby Law Firm, our priority is vindicating the rights of our clients and securing entitlements for independent contractors. We are committed to achieving justice for independent contractors and use a case-based approach to ensure effective and successful representation for each client.

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How We Can Help

Here at Colby Law Firm, we offer a range of services to those who are facing issues related to independent contractor laws. In some cases, we can help our clients sue employers for misclassification. 

We have experience representing both employees and independent contractors with lawsuits, unpaid wages, and violated rights within the workplace. The legal services we provide are comprehensive and in-depth and most often lead to a successful outcome for our clients. 

If you think you have been misclassified as an independent contractor or are an independent contractor who is being held to the standards and requirements of an employee without the benefits of such, we encourage you to seek the advice of an experienced attorney at Colby Law Firm. Our counsel will work hard to protect you from exploitation in the workplace.


What California Says About Our Employment Lawyers


Our Certifications Claim Our Extensive Expertise in San Francisco Employment Law

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Our Certifications Claim Our Extensive Expertise in Employment Law

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Why Choose

Colby Law Firm

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Aaron Colby is a California employment lawyer who knows how to resolve disputes. After 15 years representing companies, he started Colby Law Firm to represent employees. Aaron’s perspective and experience from being “on the other side” gives him an edge. Aaron brings his practical, focused, and relentless approach to helping employees protect their rights.

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Aaron Colby
Lead Attorney and Founder Colby Law