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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Hired as Independent Contractor for Trial Period, Terminated Without Notice

    My question involves independent contractors in the state of: California

    I took a job with a start-up advertising agency as a senior level employee. I signed an ICA and a Confidentiality Agreement. The reason for the ICA was that the employer "envisions your 90 day period as an independent contractor as an opportunity to gauge your performance and determine if you are a fit based on both the short term and long term objectives of the organization." I supplied my own computer and phone and any phone, mileage charges incurred were to be reimbursed. No insurance or any other benefits were paid. During my employment (approximately 3 weeks), I worked with and directed a project manager and two studio designers, took direction from the agency president and chairman, made recommendations to the agency and clients, wrote reports, and attended client meetings were I was introduced as the "Account Director." The company also had business cards printed up with my name and title, I had a direct dial phone at my desk. I was paid on an annual salary, pro-rated and payable on the last day of the month and the 15th. I submitted an invoice for my work and was paid by check, no taxes were withheld.
    Question: Am I legally considered an independent contractor?

    The ICA has a clause stating that "either Independent Contractor or Agency my terminate this Agreement upon fifteen (15) days written notice to the other party with or without cause, for any reason and for no reason." I was let go this morning at 9:15 AM and given the reason that "it just wasn't working out". I received no written notice.
    Question: Am I legally entitled to those 15 days compensation as no written notice was received by me from the company?
    Question: Am I entitled to be paid for the entire day, given that they did not notify me the evening prior (everyone was in the office) and essentially forced me to report to work to get the boot?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Live in NV; worked in CA

    Default Re: Hired as Independent Contractor for Trial Period, Terminated Without Notice

    You say you were a "senior level employee" but signed an ICA; this is contradictory: you are either an employee or an independent contractor. If you are truly an independent contractor, employment law rules for employees do not apply; your relationship with the employer is governed by the terms of your agreement (contract law) with the company. However, an ICA cannot make employment laws go away IF the employer is misclassifying you as an independent contractor when, in fact, you are an employee. The employer calling you an independent contractor or even having an Independent Contractor Agreement with you stating such does not necessarily make it so under the law.

    There are two pages you need to review, one from the IRS, the other from California's Department of Industrial Relations, to determine if you are (were) an IC or an employee. Pay particular attention to the California page, where you will note the "DLSE starts with the presumption that the worker is an employee." Review these pages to see how the agencies determine employee or independent contractor status; after review, if you believe you were an employee and are owed wages, you can file a claim with the DLSE.

    IRS "Independent Contractor (Self-Employed) or Employee"

    California Department of Industrial Relations, Independent contractor versus employee

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