California Employment Law
California Employment Law Questions Answered by Legal Experts
Good afternoon and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I will do everything I can to assist you. The difference in terms of legal rights afforded to contractors versus employees cannot be overstated. Virtually the entire California labor code, as well as federal labor protections, simply do not apply to independent contractors. Independent contractor are considered "arms length" parties to a contract. The sole remedy of an independent contractor whose employer chooses not to pay or in any way breaches their agreement is to sue for breach of contract in civil court, or assert a cause of action in tort (i.e., fraud, intentional misrepresentation).Independent contractors are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, the protects afforded through the Family Medical LEave Act, workers compensation laws, laws governing the timely payment of wages and much more.Independent contractors also cannot assert a claim for violation of Labor Code 970, 971, and 972. Despite the inapplicability of section 970 et seq.,, an independent contractor could, at least in theory, assert an equivalent claim for fraud or misrepresentation. In its essence, that is what Labor Code 970 provides for--a claim where an employer intentionally misrepresents the terms of the job and the employee incurs foreseeable damage in trhe form of moving expense.Such claim essentially amounts to a claim for intentional misrepresentation or fraud, and while an independent contractor asserting such a claim would not be entitled to the double damages which Labor Code 970 entitles to employees, they would be entitled to their actual damages and the inapplicability of section 970 would not entirely deprive them of any legal recourse.Put another way, Labor Code 970 does not apply to contractors, and neither does most of the labor code. However, an equivalent cause of action can be asserted in tort, with the exception of double damages.Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.
Thank you so much for your quick response!
What I didn't get the opportunity to finish is that she recently sent me a letter asking for her moving expenses of $3500 to be reimbursed claiming the above labor codes. How do you think I should reply to her letter?
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).