Varisco v. Gateway Science & Eng’g, Inc., 166 Cal. App. 4th 1099 (2008)

Gateway engaged Al Varisco to provide construction inspection services on two projects it was doing for the Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”). Gateway retained Varisco pursuant to a letter agreement whereby he was to be paid $75 per hour for the inspection services, which he performed directly for the LAUSD. Varisco received a 1099 reflecting his compensation and was responsible for providing his own equipment, hardhat, and work boots. He only visited Gateway’s offices to pick up his paycheck, and he received no direction from Gateway on how to perform his duties. Gateway terminated the relationship when Varisco refused to sign a new contract after he learned he was going to be responsible for paying his own automobile and workers’ compensation insurance. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of Gateway after determining that Varisco was an independent contractor and not an employee of Gateway, thus barring his wrongful termination of employment claims as a matter of law. Cf. Chin v. Namvar, 166 Cal. App. 4th 994 (2008) (worker who misrepresented himself as a licensed contractor could not rely on Labor Code presumption that he was an employee and not an independent contractor).