California Business Portal

How can I determine whether my workers are employees or independent contractors?

The basic test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is whether the principal has the right to control the manner and means by which the work is performed. When the principal has the "right of control," the worker will be an employee even if the principal never actually exercises the control. If the principal does not have the right of control, the worker will generally be an independent contractor.

If, on the face of the relationship, it is not clear whether the principal has the "right of control," there are secondary factors that are considered to determine the existence or nonexistence of the right of control.

The Employment Development Department has created the Employment Determination Guide to assist you further.

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