A California Supreme Court ruling that could upend years of law regarding the frequently litigated independent contractor vs. employee issue is fighting push back from trucking groups. A large part of the transportation industry workforce is made up of independent contractors. These independent contractors generating a significant portion of the transportation industry’s life force include thousands of California truck drivers/owner-operators.
The ruling under scrutiny was in the Dynamex class action lawsuit and came down on April 30th. The ruling adopted the ABC test.
Defining the ABC Test: The ABC Test assumes most workers are employees and are eligible for the protections offered by California wage laws (including overtime pay regulations, meal break requirements, and minimum wage guarantees). Part B of the ABC Test is vital. It states that a worker has to perform work outside the usual course of business of the hiring company in order to qualify as an independent contractor. This part of the ABC Test would rule out owner-operator truck drivers. They are most often doing the same type of work as their “client” companies.
The court’s decision in the Dynamex case throws the legality of the entire California trucking industry into question. In fact, the Western States Trucking Association filed a lawsuit earlier in 2018 against the state of California over the potential enforcement of the ruling. They argued that the Dynamex ruling is in violation of federal laws on interstate transportation preempting states from passing laws that affect prices, routes and services of interstate motor carriers.
Western States Trucking Association is not the only group pushing back against the ruling on the Dynamex case. The California Trucking Association filed its own lawsuit in October 2018 to try to prevent the state from applying and enforcing the ABC test categorically.
If you have questions about how to address wage disputes, wrongful termination claims, overtime violations or questions of misclassification, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.