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

UPDATED: Jan 2, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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