What are rights if my job status has been changed, my pay decreased and my employer wants to classify me as self-employed?

I have no contract but do have 26 years of service.

Asked on July 15, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Years of service is, unfortunately, completely irrelevant legally--morally, it may mean something, but in the eyes of the law, 26 years of service gets you nothing. Since all employment is "employment at will" if you don't have a written contract (which you do not), your employer may change your status and pay at will. Whether you can considered (and paid) as "self employed" (better known as an "independent contractor"), though, depends on whether you meet the criteria to be an independent contractor. You can find the criteria on the U.S. Dept. of Labor's (DOL) website, and I recommend that you review them and compare them against your job; but as quick rule of thumb, if you'll still be working more or less the way you worked as an employee for 26 years, you are *not* self employed or an independent contractor. So while you employer can reduce your hours, reduce your pay, change your title or job, etc., they may not be able to legally make you an independent contractor or self-employed.

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