Articles Posted in misclassification

What started as two delivery drivers fighting for their employee status has blossomed into a landmark class-action lawsuit that could have a major ripple effect on employee classification in California and the gig economy in general. In the case ofemployee misclassification lawyers Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, et al, the California Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision that classified a class of delivery drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, as Dynamex had been classifying them. The ruling sets a new precedent for guidelines necessary to determine a workers’ classification that expands the definition of “employee” broader than current standards, according to National Law Review.

The ruling supersedes another made by the court in the case of S.G. Borello & Sons Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations in 1989, which established a multi-faceted test based on how much control or autonomy an employee had in regards to the company. The new three-point standard, or the ABC standard, established by the ruling is a more commonly used method that simplifies the determining process, but also broadly increases how many workers would qualify as employees across the board. The first point (A) is in line with the previous precedent, in that it speaks specifically to workers functioning outside the control of the employer for the performance of the work; B) worker has other regular work outside the company in question; and C) that they work in an occupation, trade, or business that is independently established. Under these rules, the Supreme Court sided with the former opinion that these drivers should be classified as employees, with all the benefits that come with that. “Employee” has become defined as “all workers who would ordinarily be viewed as working in the hiring business,” according to the CA Supreme Court ruling.

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A bill labeled “Dignity in the Driver’s Seat” has been introduced in the California State Senate, taking aim at port trucking companies’ exploitation of workers and failure to pay up for affirmed violations. This bill would make retailers who work with offending trucking companies jointly liable for their actions. Previous efforts have taken aim solely at offending trucking companies, but so many of these violators are still operating – despite unpaid final judgments on their records. This proposal strikes at their bottom line.wage dispute

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced SB-1402 in an attempt to rein in current outstanding violations by port trucking companies as well as prevent future issues. The bill proposes creating a list of those trucking companies that have unpaid final judgments and distributing it to retailers. Retailers would then be issued a warning: Do business with any of the companies on the list, and you will have to pay in part for any future violations committed by that company.  Continue reading

They might share a name, hours, and overarching rules, but according to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California,employment attorneys  7-Eleven franchisees are not direct employees of 7-Eleven. In the original employment lawsuit complaint, filed by a group of four franchisees, plaintiffs pointed to 7-Eleven’s restrictive rules, alleging they were unable to run a truly independent franchise and therefore qualified them as employees of the parent company. But the court ruled plaintiffs did not sufficiently demonstrate an employee-employer relationship. Our employment attorneys experienced in wage and hour lawsuits know this could set a significant precedent for current and future cases involving franchises.

According to National Law Review, plaintiffs attempted to make a case based on a few factors:

  • The requirement that franchisees remain open 364 days a year for 24 hours a day.
  • 7-Eleven distributes payments to all employees.
  • 7-Eleven sets rules for pay practices, discipline, terminations, and performance appraisals.

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Internships can be one of the most beneficial learning experiences of a young person’s life, providing skills and experience employee misclassificationunattainable in any classroom. However, some are trying to argue that these benefits mean more interns should go without payment for their work.

The U.S. Labor Department recently released a new set of guidelines that relaxes the requirements around paid internships. According to a Los Angeles Times report, the new guidelines do keep intact a series of factors companies should use to determine whether they have to pay their interns or not, referred to as a primary beneficiary test. In other words, the test determines who benefits the most from the internship: the intern or the company. But now instead of using these factors as the standard by which to judge the employer’s final decision, the merits will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Continue reading

“Gig” employment, also known as the, “sharing economy,” has exploded across the country, with increasingly more services following in the footsteps of the likes of Uber and Grubhub. These businesses often use appsCalifornia Employment Attorney to connect workers with customers for one-time services. These companies amass an eager base of workers who sign up for shifts as able, delivering groceries, transporting passengers, and more.

Many workers view gig employment as a flexible and easy way to earn extra money, while employers view it as a cheap way to staff a robust labor pool.

However this dynamic has led to a growing number of employee misclassification lawsuits as the debate comes to a boil as to whether these workers are independent contactors or employees (with all the rights that employees receive). Continue reading

The time between Black Friday and Christmas Day is always a hectic one for those who work in the retail industry.  This is the time when sales are often the highest, which is where the term “Black Friday” is derived, as store ledgers move from the red to the black. Much has changed in recent years in terms of how employers staff their businesses during this time, and some of these updates are creating a significant hardship for these hard-working employees.

employee misclassificationAccording to a recent news article from The Los Angeles Times, retailers, regardless of their size, are using computers to maximize staffing at times that correlate with higher sales. They are also using many more temporary employees than ever before.  This way they can safe costs by not having as many year-round employees. Continue reading

The unemployment rate is one of the factors economists use to determine the health of the market.  When more people are working it historically means that companies are prospering and the economy is getting stronger. Currently, the unemployment rate is down in Los Angeles and Orange County according to a recent news article from the Los Angeles Daily News. While this is generally good news, new issues arise as our economy has largely shifted into what has been termed an on demand economy.worker-199x300

This sounds like a good thing, but there are ways companies can use this newer model to take advantage of employees and not provide them with all of the wages and benefits to which they are rightfully entitled.  This is often done through what employment attorneys call employee misclassification. Continue reading

A California employee misclassification lawsuit appears to be drawing toward a resolution, after plaintiffs – a group of corporate training managers – have asked a federal judge to approve a $2.75 million settlement alleging their employer violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. employee misclassification

Specifically, plaintiffs in Dito, et al v. AT&T Services, Inc. et al alleged in the California Northern District Court that telecommunication giant AT&T wrongly classified them as independent contractors in violation of the FLSA, when in fact they were employees. The goal of the misclassification, plaintiffs allege, was to sidestep legal requirements to pay workers overtime.

The proposal for settlement involves a somewhat unusual structure in that it includes both a common fund for existing class members within the state, as well as an opt-in for those out-of-state who may be class members, but have yet to assert their own claims under FLSA. The settlement would save class members the the risks of individual employment litigation. Even this class action employment lawsuit, were it to continue, could drag on several more years, plaintiff attorneys opine.  Continue reading

In today’s changing marketplace, “gig” employment is becoming increasingly popular. On-demand mobile services for ride-sharing, grocery delivery, restaurant delivery and many other services have created vast income opportunities for those seeking part-time or supplemental income. Unfortunately, this new and emerging labor market has complicated the legal rights of such workers. Many companies and employees experience conflict over the employee’s classification as either an employee or independent contractor. Despite the confusion, it is important to remember that all California workers have legal rights under the Labor Code and other employment laws.employment lawyers

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A federal judge in California has refused to accept a proposed $100 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against ride-sharing service Uber, which is accused of misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors when they are, in fact, employees. drive7

The U.S. District judge in his order stated that the settlement was just 10 percent of what the drivers’ lawyers estimate the company would have to pay in legal fees. Plus, it only accounted $1 million for state penalties that could easily pile up to more than $1 billion. In light of these facts, the judge wrote, the settlement proposal was not fair to the workers, and neither was it reasonable or adequate.

It’s unclear what this and other cases are going to mean for the future of the company. The company’s fast-paced growth and low prices are contingent on the fact that it doesn’t have to pay its drivers fuel reimbursements or offer health insurance. But the company’s profitability is not the concern of the courts. The issue is whether more than 385,000 workers in California and Massachusetts (the parties to the lawsuit) were cheated out of these employee benefits by being wrongly classified. They argue the company had enough control over their day-to-day activities to be deemed employees – not independent contractors.  Continue reading