Difference Between Independent Contractor and Employee

Does it make a difference if I am an independent contractor or an employee?

Yes. It makes a difference if you are an employee versus and independent contractor in California. There are laws in California that protect you as an employee, such as wage and hour laws like minimum wage, meal periods, rest periods, and overtime, as well as anti-discrimination and retaliations laws. These laws protect you as an employee but do not protect you if you are an independent contractor. Also, as an employee, you may go to state agencies in CA like the Labor Commissioner’s office to ask for enforcement of such laws. Independent contractors have to settle their disputes in court and enforce their rights with contacts.


Joe is an employee at a store. Joe is protected as an employee by laws in California. Joe’s employer does not allow him to take allowed 10-minute rest periods. Since Joe is protected by laws that state he must receive a 10-minute rest for every 4 hours that he works, Joe may contact the Labor Commissioner’s Office and file a rest period wage claim in CA. If Joe was an independent contractor, he would not be protected by such laws enforced by the Labor Commissioner’s Office and he would have to file suit in court if he had a problem with an employer.

If you have a question about California employee or independent contractor law or want to file a wage claim in California, contact us now.

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