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Can Independent Contractors Sue for Sexual Harassment in Sacramento?

— January 27, 2022

Don’t give up hope just yet if you are an independent contractor who has experienced sexual harassment in your workplace.

If you’ve experienced sexual harassment in Sacramento, you might be exploring your legal options. However, a good first step is to determine your employment status. In case you weren’t aware, employers can “classify” you as either an employee or an independent contractor. This is an important distinction, and your employment status might affect your ability to file a lawsuit against your employer.

If you’d like to explore this situation in more depth, your best bet is to get in touch with an experienced, qualified sexual harassment attorney in California. These legal professionals can guide you towards a positive outcome, regardless of whether you’re an independent contractor or an employee. During your initial consultation, you can discuss the details of your situation and determine the best legal course of action. Often, a successful lawsuit will result in a considerable financial settlement. 

Why Independent Contractors Encounter Problems

Many Californians today are becoming independent contractors, as this choice offers a number of advantages. Contractors often have more freedom and flexibility, and they are “their own bosses,” so to speak. They often work from home and can choose to work with a wide range of clients instead of a single employer. However, this lifestyle comes with its fair share of disadvantages. 

As an independent contractor, you are not given the same protections as an “employee.” Those who are legally designated as “employees” are protected by the Civil Rights Act. This means that you cannot sue for discrimination, sexual harassment, and a range of other similar issues. You’re also not guaranteed unpaid pregnancy leave, sick leave, and other benefits.

Independent contractor's tax paperwork; image by Olga DeLawrence, via
Independent contractor’s tax paperwork; image by Olga DeLawrence, via

So why can’t independent contractors sue for sexual harassment? The basic premise is that as an independent contractor, you are expected to be in control of your work environment. Essentially, the argument is that if you are being harassed by a client, you can simply choose to stop working with that client. In contrast, an employee might feel forced to remain in a toxic environment simply because they have no other work options. 

There is Still Hope

Don’t give up hope just yet if you are an independent contractor who has experienced sexual harassment in your workplace. You may have been misclassified as an independent contractor by your employer. Sometimes, employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors due to a simple mistake, and in other situations, they do this in order to avoid the obligations and liabilities that come with having employees. Work with a qualified employment attorney to determine whether you have been misclassified in this manner. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you’ve experienced sexual harassment in your workplace, you have every right to explore your legal options. Although things can be a little tricky if you’re an independent contractor, you may still have the ability to sue under certain circumstances. In order to find real answers, you should book a consultation with a qualified, experienced sexual harassment attorney at your earliest convenience. Although internet research is a positive first step, working with a lawyer is the only real way to take decisive action. Reach out today. 

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