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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Employee vs. Independent Contractor
On-demand Video Now Available


By Cassandra H. Carroll, Seyfarth Shaw LLP


On May 10, local attorneys gathered at BASF to hear Francis J. Ortman, III and Robb D. McFadden present a CLE entitled “Employee vs. Independent Contractor.” Ortman is a partner at Seyfarth Shaw, where his practice focuses on the representation of employers in all aspects of employment law, with an emphasis on high exposure wage and hour class action claims. Similarly, McFadden, an associate at Seyfarth Shaw, also represents and advises employers on a wide variety of employment-related matters. Recently, Ortman and McFadden secured a favorable summary judgment ruling in the published decision, Arnold v. Mutual of Omaha (202 Cal.App.4th 580 (2011)) – the first California decision to detail the circumstances under which insurance agents, and potentially other types of sales-people, may be classified as independent contractors.

Among other things, the presenters covered the advantages and disadvantages of classifying an individual as an independent contractor, the risks of misclassification, the applicable “tests” applied by the courts to determine proper classification, current and anticipated legislation and governmental activity on this subject, and recommendations. As the presenters explained, the consequences of misclassification can be severe, exposing employers to a multitude of civil claims, including violations for unpaid wages, missed meal and rest breaks, reimbursement of necessary business expenses, penalties, and class action liability. Moreover, governmental agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), are carefully monitoring the status of independent contractors, as a potential means to obtain additional tax revenue. Accordingly, it is essential for employers to understand the relevant factors when determining whether a particular worker should be classified as an independent contractor or
an employee.

This presentation covers these key issues, and recommendations are further provided to assist in the potential avoidance of liability for misclassification claims.

Purchase the on-demand video.


Cassandra H. Carroll is a senior associate in the Labor & Employment Department of Seyfarth Shaw. Her practice focuses on defending employers against single and multi-plaintiff claims for discrimination, retaliation, and harassment, as well as against high exposure wage and hour class action claims.

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