Is 1099 independent contractor legal in an office environment

I work in an office environment as an
independent contractor 1099. I have to
clock in and out get docked points for
being absent, get suspended and lose
commissions if I get suspended, get a
30 minute lunch break, and I have no
Benifits. Is this legal? I was told
they should be paying us an hourly
wage. Also, the is so much horseplay,
rude behavior and cussing on the floor
we actually lose clients and
commission, is there something I can

Asked on March 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You can find the full criteria for when someone is an employee or an independent contractor on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website, but based on what you write, you are an employee and must be paid (and get benefits,and have tax withholding taken out) as one: the employer controls where and when you work, and that degree of control is the control exercised over an employee; it is inconsistent with the "independence" which an independent contarctor has. Based on what you write, you are being mischaracterized as an independent contractor (1099) and could file a complaint with the U.S. or state department of labor for any back pay or overtime owed, benefits, tax contributions, etc. 
2) There is nothing you can do about the inappropriate behavior if the employer allows it: the law does not force businesses to be professional or businesslike, and there is no way to force this to stop or get compensation for it.

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