The risks involved in misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee have always been serious. A number of federal and state agencies regulate the proper classification of workers and have the authority to impose significant monetary and non-monetary sanctions against employers who get the classification wrong.
The State of California Signed an MOU with the Federal Department of Labor Together They Will Locate and Punish Those Who Misclassify Independent Contractors
In my November 4, 2011 post, I discussed a new California law (Labor Code § 226.8) that imposes serious monetary fines and other sanctions against those who willfully misclassify workers as “independent contractors” rather than “employees.” Those who violate the law can find themselves paying up to $15,000 per violation and up to $25,000 if there is a pattern and practice of misclassification. Also, if the violator is a licensed business, it runs the risk of having its license revoked. Finally, the law provides for publication of a notice to employees and the general public for a period of one year, stating that the violator committed a serious violation of the law.