William Hays Weissman focuses his practice on worker status, employment taxes and affirmative action/Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) audits. He counsels employers of all sizes, ranging from single-person start-ups looking to hire the first employee to Fortune 100 companies with sophisticated human resource, payroll and in-house legal departments. 

Having previously worked for the government and holding both an M.B.A. and Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation, William understands the business and legal perspectives employers need to consider when addressing any employment problem. He leverages his diverse background and Littler's resources to provide his clients practical solutions.

William works with each client to uncover issues and understand their organization. He tailors advice accordingly and applies the law to advance business needs. His goal is to help clients navigate the shifting legal landscape in a cost effective and practical way.

William's practice encompasses:

  • Worker status: Helping clients restructure and strengthen their relationships with independent contractors, but also advising clients to convert contractors to employees when necessary. He also defends clients in disputes with state and federal agencies including the IRS, state tax agencies and departments of labor, as well as in private litigation in federal and state courts.
  • Employment tax issues: Providing advice and counsel on a wide range of employment tax issues such as the tax implications of settlements, the proper tax treatment of fringe benefits such as moving, travel and educational expenses, garnishments, the electronic payment of wages and paycards, among others.
  • Affirmative Action/OFCCP: Assisting government contractors with the preparation of affirmative action plans and defending them in audits by the OFCCP. He also counsels clients relating to OFCCP jurisdiction, alleged single employer status, and disparate impact and discrimination in hiring, promotion and compensation.

William is a frequent speaker and author on employment tax issues. His articles have appeared in numerous publications including State Tax Notes, the CPA Journal, and The New Republic. He has authored and co-authored several treatise chapters on worker status and employment tax issues, and written articles about government contracting. William has been quoted in Forbes, Bloomberg, Silicon Valley Business Journal, and Workforce Magazine, among other publications. He previously served as a member of Littler's Board of Directors.

Professional & Community Affiliations


American Bar Association


Employment Taxes Committee - Tax Section

American Bar Association



Employment Taxes Committee - Tax Section

American Bar Association



Employment Taxes Subcommittee - Business Law Section

American Bar Association


American Payroll Association


Contra Costa Bar Association


East Bay Tax Club


American Bar Foundation

News, Analysis & Press

DOL and IRS Unite to Battle Misclassifying Workers

Material Handling & Logistics

January 12, 2023

Why Robot Taxes Won't Work


October 8, 2018

Many changes on the horizon for government contractors

Staffing Industry Analysts

February 23, 2015

The Government Will Keep Those FICA Taxes, Thanks

Corporate Counsel

March 27, 2014

High Court Says Severance Is Taxable

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

March 25, 2014

Attorneys React: US vs. Quality Stores


March 25, 2014

Paying It Forward?

Human Resource Executive Online

July 1, 2013

No free lunches in Silicon Valley?!? Our tax analysis

Silicon Valley Business Journal

April 9, 2013

Rethinking the Usefulness of the Economic Reality Test Used for Worker Classification Determinations in Light of Current Economic Reality; Part II Criticism of the Economic Reality test and the Need for Reform

Employee Benefit Plan Review

October 1, 2012

Rethinking the Usefulness of the Economic Reality Test Used for Worker Classification Determinations in Light of Current Economic Reality (Part 1)

Employee Benefit Plan Review

September 1, 2012

The "Bring Your Own Device" to Work Movement

Littler Report

May 10, 2012

The MTC’s Model Mobile Workforce Statute

State Tax Notes

May 2, 2011

The Unemployment Tax Requires Real Reform, Not Just Tinkering

State Tax Notes

March 21, 2011

The FedEx Litigation and the Employment Development Department

Spidell's California Taxletter

Spidell Publishing, Inc.

February 1, 2011

California’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Changes Regs

State Tax Notes

November 1, 2010

Incorporating Independent Contractors Is No Panacea For Misclassification

State Tax Notes

July 26, 2010

Ohio Loses First SUTA Dumping Case

State Tax Notes

June 28, 2010

California Independent Contractor Withholding

State Tax Notes

April 5, 2010

Employer’s Rights in California UI Benefit Decisions

State Tax Notes

February 8, 2010

Can the Statutory Definition of an Employee Evolve?

State Tax Notes

January 4, 2010

California Tax Reform Should Include Payroll Taxes

State Tax Notes

October 12, 2009

Federal Meddling With State Unemployment Systems

State Tax Notes

July 27, 2009

California Tax Reform Should Include An Independent Tax Court

State Tax Notes

April 20, 2009

A Proposed Massive California Unemployment Tax Increase

State Tax Notes

February 16, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be An Employee in California?

State Tax Notes

December 15, 2008

What Constitutes a Hearing Before California’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board?

State Tax Notes

October 20, 2008

The California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board's Evidentiary Double Standard

Messenger Courier World Magazine

Fall 2008

Are Student Athletes School Employees?

State Tax Notes

April 14, 2008

Employment Tax Audits: Practical Tips for Accountants

The CPA Journal

April 2008

Are the California Employment Development Department’s "Information Sheets" Invalid Underground Regulations?

State Tax Notes

March 24, 2008

San Francisco Reverses Itself on Payroll Tax on Partner Profits

State Tax Notes

November 12, 2007

Anatomy of a California Employment Development Department Notice of Assessment

State Tax Notes

November 5, 2007

The Good Cause Standard For Attempts At Discovery In California Unemployment Tax Cases

State Tax Notes

October 15, 2007

What is Integral to a Business Entity?

State Tax Notes

August 13, 2007

Air Couriers International v. Employment Development Department and the Economic Reality Test

State Tax Notes

May 28, 2007

Little-Noticed California Unemployment Tax Legislation

State Tax Notes

April 2, 2007

Are Emotional Distress Damages Income Subject to Tax? No, Says the DC Court of Appeals in Murphy v. United States

Journal of Taxation of Investments

Civic Research Institute Inc.

Winter 2007

Books & Book Chapters

  • Chapter 4, Independent Contractors, Drafting Employment Documents for California Employers,, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), 2011
  • Is the Taxpayer/Worker an Employee or an Independent Contractor for IRC Purposes?, Effectively Representing Your Client Before the IRS, Chapter 17, Section of Taxation - American Bar Association, co-author: G.J. Stillson MacDonnell, 2009
  • Federal Insurance Contribution Act, LexisNexis Tax Advisor, co-author: G.J. Stillson MacDonnell, LexisNexis
  • Federal Unemployment Tax Act, LexisNexis Tax Advisor, co-author: G.J. Stillson MacDonnell, LexisNexis
  • Littler on Classifying Workers: Employees v. Independent Contractors, Joint Employees & Other Contingent Workforce Issues, The Littler National Employer Library

Speaking Engagements

Top-10 Predictions for the Future of Nontraditional Work Relationships

Littler Executive Employer Conference

May 6, 2022

Not All Who Wander Are Lost: Managing Employee Relocation in the Era of Remote Work

March 11, 2021

It’s All Connected: Understanding the Tax Implications of Immigration Processing Issues

April 9, 2020

Staying Alive After AB5 - Can California Businesses Still ‘Depend’ on Independent Contractors?

August 8, 2019

Federal Contractor Roundtable

2019 Littler Executive Employer Conference, Phoenix, AZ

May 8, 2019

Going Up in Smoke? A Look at U.S. Immigration, Tax and Workplace Issues Arising from the Legalization of Marijuana in Canada

November 28, 2018

A ComplianceHR MasterClass: The Workplace Redefined: Navigating Independent Contractor Compliance under the Shifting Legal Landscape

June 26, 2018

The Employment Tax Consequences of Paying Employees

California Lawyers Association Tax Procedure & Litigation Committee, San Francisco, CA

June 8, 2018

Littler Employment Tax Webinar Series

May 30, 2018

National Association of Professional Employer Organization’s Capitol Summit

Pentagon City, VA

May 23, 2018

Employment Tax Issues in Settlements and Litigation

ABA Tax Section, Washington, D.C.

May 11, 2018

Tackling Taxing Challenges in 2018: The Telework/Mobile Work Phenomenon and Tax Reform

Littler Executive Employer, Phoenix, AZ

May 3, 2018

The Future Workplace: From Gig Workers to Virtual Workers - Part 1: Redefining Employment Relationships and Responsibilities in the Gig Economy

Littler Executive Employer, Phoenix, AZ

May 2, 2018

Overview of the Fringe Benefit and Employment Tax Provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

January 30, 2018

Holiday Gift Giving May Include the Tax Man

November 30, 2017

Overview of the Tax Treatment of Popular Employer-Provided Fringe Benefits

March 10, 2017

Who is the Employer?

American Bar Association, Orlando, FL

January 20, 2017

Controlling Unemployment Compensation Costs

National Business Institute, Emeryville, CA

December 13, 2016

Square Peg, Round Hole: Worker Status and the 21st Century Economy

National Association of State Bar Tax Sections, San Francisco, CA

October 29, 2016

Talent Management in a Freelance World: Case Studies from the Real World

The 2016 Executive Employer® Conference, Scottsdale, AZ

May 5, 2016

Comparing U.S. and Canadian Taxation of Common Damages Paid in Employer-Employee Disputes

ABA Business Law Section Meeting, Montreal, QC

April 7, 2016

Compliance 101: Everything You Need to Know about Worker Classification

Work Market Webinar

February 25, 2016

Labor & Employment Law Developments: Looking Back at 2015 and Ahead to 2016 - Walnut Creek

Walnut Creek, CA

January 8, 2016

Building The Next Generation of Contingent Workforce

New York, NY

June 24, 2015

Severance Pay Considerations and Alternatives

March 25, 2015

Help Clients Reduce Corporate Expenses and Improve Employee Benefits: How alternative severance programs can provide significant tax savings

Littler Mendelson Webinar

January 28, 2015

OFCCP’s Veteran and Disability Regulations, Government Contractor Executive Orders, and the New Data Compensation Collection Tool

Seattle, WA

September 10, 2014

OFCCP's Final Regulations for Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities

March 18, 2014

OFCCP Final Veterans and Disabilities Regulations

October 14, 2013

Retailers at Risk: Are Your Independent Contractors Actually Contractors?

October 9, 2013

What You Need to Know About Legal Compliance for Telework Arrangements

American Institution of CPAs (AICPA) Webinar

September 10, 2013

Fisher v. University of Texas: Implications for the Future of Affirmative Action Programs for Student and Faculty Recruiting

Annual Conference - National Association of College and University Business Officers, Indianapolis, IN

July 14, 2013

Is There a Future For Independent Contractor Relationships?

2013 Connections Conference - CBIZ MHM, Las Vegas, NV

July 10, 2013

Tax Consequences of Employment Related Litigation and Settlements

Employment Law Section - Contra Costa County Bar Association, Walnut Creek, CA

April 25, 2013

Spotting The "Accidental" Government Contractor — How To Determine If You Are At Risk Before A Surprise Government Audit Occurs

February 6, 2013

An Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits And Other Payments to Employees

California Payroll Conference, Walnut Creek, CA

October 18, 2012

The Paperless Future is Here: Implementing an Electronic Payment of Wages Program

Annual Meeting - State Bar of California, Monterey, CA

October 11, 2012

California Payroll

Meeting of the Minds Annual Conference - ADP, Dallas, TX

March 13, 2012

Overpayments and Termination Law

Meeting of the Minds Annual Conference - ADP, Dallas, TX

March 12, 2012

California Employment Development Department and Payroll Taxes

Tax Section Meeting - American Bar Association, San Diego, CA

February 17, 2012

Am I Really An Independent Contractor?

Tax Section Meeting - American Bar Association, San Diego, CA

February 17, 2012

Tax Consequences of Employment Related Settlements and Litigation

Lorman Education Services Webinar

January 18, 2012

Employer's Tax Guide to Gifts, Prizes, Bonuses, Business Expenses and Other Payments to Employees

Lorman Education Services Webinar


Handling Federal Garnishments from Receipt to Termination

Lorman Education Services Webinar


Wage Garnishing Rules & Regulations for HR Executives for 2012

ExecSense Audio Conference

December 15, 2011

Worker Classification Strategies: The New IRS Voluntary Classification Settlement Program and Other Options

American Law Institute - American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) Webinar, Philadelphia, PA

November 10, 2011

Payroll Tax Audits: Best Strategies

California Tax Policy Conference, San Jose, CA

November 4, 2011

Understanding Employment Taxes

Driver Employment Council of America Conference - Napa, CA

October 7, 2011

Essentials of California Wage Garnishments

Lorman Education Services Webinar

January 26, 2011

State Employment Tax Update

Tax Section Meeting - American Bar Association, Boca Raton, FL

January 21, 2011

Employment Law 101: Employment Law Basics for Accountants & Financial Professionals

14th Annual San Diego Tax and Accounting Institute, San Diego, CA

November 17, 2010

From Hiring to Firing: Ten Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

California CPA Society, Oakland, CA

July 29, 2010

Current Federal and State Developments Relating to Worker Classification Issues

East Bay Tax Club

February 16, 2010

The Evolving Tax Environment and Independent Contractors: Is There a Future for IC Status?

Staffing Industry Analysts Webinar

December 10, 2009

Screening and Classifying Your ICs: In the Safe Harbor Really Safe?

Co-Employment and Risk Forum Conference, Washington, D.C.

June 19, 2009

Federal Employment Tax Update

Tax Section - American Bar Association, Washington, D.C.

May 8, 2009

California Income Tax Withholding: Unveiling the Mysteries at the FTB and EDD

California Tax Policy Conference, San Francisco, CA

November 7, 2008

California Employment Tax Developments

American Bar Association Tax Section, San Francisco, CA

September 26, 2008

Emerging Employment Tax Issues and Trends

September 7, 2008

Practical Tips For Handling A California Employment Tax Audit

East Bay Tax Club

March 19, 2007


  • M.B.A., University of California, Davis, 2005
  • LL.M. in Taxation, Golden Gate University School of Law, 1996
  • J.D., District of Columbia School of Law, 1995cum laude
  • B.A., George Washington University, 1991

Bar Admission



  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims