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Can an independent contractor sue for wrongful termination?

If you are an independent contractor in California, it means that you are not an employee of a company but rather a consultant providing services to one or more companies on a contract basis by written or verbal agreement. As an independent contractor, you usually have a lot more freedom to work from home or create your own schedule. As a trade-off, however, you are not afforded many of the benefits that employees may enjoy, such as health insurance coverage or paid time off.

According to FindLaw, as an independent contractor you do not have exactly the same rights to contest a wrongful termination that an employee of the company has, but that does not mean that you have no rights whatsoever. If you lost your consultant position by refusing to do something illegal for the company, exercising your rights or reporting someone else's illegal conduct, you have the right to bring a suit for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Bear in mind, however, that while you have the right to bring the case, the court may dismiss it without hearing it due to your independent contractor status. Therefore, if the company terminated your business relationship on a wrongful or malicious basis, your case may be more successful if you make a claim for something other than wrongful termination.

Furthermore, whether mistakenly or intentionally, companies sometimes misclassify employees as independent contractors. If this is true in your case, the law will afford you all the rights and privileges granted to employees, even after your employment has ended.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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