Is it illegal for a company to hire you directly as a temp?

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Is it illegal for a company to hire you directly as a temp?

I worked for a law firm that hired me as a temp to perm and decided to pay me as an independent contractor. When they fired me, I filed an unemployment claim stating they were my prior employer. They told EDD that I came from an agency, even though they paid me directly. Why did they say I came from an agency instead of saying I was their independent contractor? What should I do from here? I’m afraid of getting denied unemployment benefits.

Asked on January 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) No, it's not illegal to hire you directly as a temp.

2) Even if you were paid directly, it's possible that you were considered an employee of an agency, if you initially came from one--it depends on the exact arrangement between the agency and the law firm.

3) Independent contractors  are often not eligible for unemployment at the cessation of a given job--among other  things, unemployment contributions/assessments would not have been made on your behalf; also independent contractors are often considered "self employed," who have difficulty qualifying for unemployment.

In short, it's not a simple situation. It may be worthwhile hiring an attorney who specializes in unemployment matters to help you apply for, and hopefully get, unemployment insurance; the attorney will know how to best position and describe your employment for the agency, and also how to challenge any improper classification(s) of you. If you actuall should have been considered (and compensated) as an employee, not an independent contractor, based on how you worked and your relationship with the employer, you may be entitled to additional compensation.


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