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Many independent contractors could soon be considered employees

The business landscape involving independent contractors across a number of industries is poised to change; especially with regard to cheerleaders for professional sports teams. While this may seem a little abstract and unimportant, the new potential law comes on the heels of several lawsuits brought by cheerleaders for NFL teams, including those working for the Oakland Raiders, claiming violations of state labor law codes.

According to a recent San Francisco Chronicle blog post, the California legislature has approved a bill that would make all cheerleaders for professional sports teams based in the state employees under the state’s labor code. This would give them the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured, obtain and take sick leave, and also give them rights to health benefits. 

Previously, cheerleaders were considered independent contractors, even though the teams they represented controlled a host of elements that would lead many labor regulators to conclude that the cheerleaders were employees.

While it appears reasonably certain that Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the bill, the question of whether an employer is properly classifying and paying employees in Arizona is a critical issue that could lead to a host of legal problems. Not only can this result in hefty tax penalties, it could also lead to unintended civil liability for employees who harm customers.

Because of this, it is important to consult an experienced attorney so that you understand how to properly classify your employees and what you should do to ensure that you are adhering to state law. 

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