Articles Tagged with employee misclassification

Rideshare companies may compete fiercely on the road, but when it comes to classifying drivers as employees, they are rock-solid united. The CEOs of Uber and Lyft penned an opinion-editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle voicing opposition to a new California law that would re-designate their drivers from independent contractors to employees – with all the actual legal benefits and bargaining rights that entails. Los Angeles employment lawyer

The company has long been extremely reticent to classify these workers as “employees,” arguing their business model is unique in that it merely connects riders to customers, and is not a traditional “transportation company.” It owns no vehicles, drivers have no direct supervision and drivers are free to set their own hours, types of vehicles/services. The company does, however, insure drivers and provides a host of standards and criteria workers are required to meet.

However, Assembly Bill 5 – a broad piece of legislation that will become law if it gains the vote of the state senate as well as Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature – would expand the definition of “independent contractor” to more closely match that which was outlined in last year’s California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Los Angeles Superior Court. Continue reading

Tech giant Google is facing down the real possibility of a massive contractor misclassfication lawsuit that underscores just how pervasive this problem truly is.

Workers who are wrongful classified as contractors rather than employees are missing out on hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in wages and benefits, including overtime compensation, travel reimbursement, benefits like vacation time and sick leave and various kinds of insurance coverage. All the protections laid out in California’s wage and hour statutes – those only apply to employees. But of course – that’s exactly why it’s so pervasive, as it’s the company that classifies the workers – and many have long gotten away with it. employee misclassification

Google happens to be huge and high-profile, so the sheer volume of workers potentially involved is substantial. But Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyers know this problem is far from limited to large, international corporations. It’s true that industry giants like Microsoft, Lyft and Federal Express have had to pay huge compensation to misclassified workers over the years, but we’ve seen it too in mom-and-pop restaurants, manufacturing facilities, local car washes and retail operations.

If there is one good thing to come from the case, it’s that it will raise awareness of the issue. The Economic Policy Institute Estimates about one-fifth of all U.S. companies are currently misclassifying at least one worker. Continue reading

A long-running legal battle with California and Massachusetts drivers for Uber has settled with the ride-sharing tech firm paying a $20 million settlement – but no deal to name them as employees versus independent contractors. Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys know that has many legal analysts opining Uber was the one that actually won big this round. Los Angeles employee misclassification attorney

The drivers likely acquiesced to this deal, rather than pushing ahead, after a federal appellate court ruled last September that drivers could not join together for a class action, and would instead be required to individually arbitrate each claim. As TechCrunch.com reported, that diminished a lot of the power plaintiffs in that original case had.

As part of the labor and employment lawsuit settlement, Uber has agreed to some other concessions as well. For example, Uber agreed to alter the way it removes drivers from the service, in turn boosting the transparency of the process. In a now-published policy, the tech firm details how it removes drivers from its rosters. The company also plans to institute a means for booted workers to appeal. Drivers will also have the chance to take classes offered by the firm to learn how to improve the quality of rides for customers.

Why Employee Classification Was a Key Issue for Uber Continue reading

Retailers have officially been put on notice by the California Labor Commission: If you hire trucking companies engage in unfair wage and hour practices against truck drivers, you too could be held jointly liable. Los Angeles truck driver wage and hour lawyers understand that to drive home the point, the agency posted a list of firms with outstanding court fines, tax liens and tax assessments can be held jointly and severally liable for future labor law violations committed by those companies. Los Angeles Driver misclassification attorney

The companies in question have been deemed by the commission and/or the courts to have committed wage theft against their workers, failing to pay them what they are owed by law. In many cases, the truck drivers were intentionally misclassified as independent contractors (rather than employees), in turn cheating them of pay benefits like workers’ compensation and unemployment. (This, as well as attempts to shield the firms from liability, which can be expensive, if the drivers are negligent and cause a serious truck accident resulting in someone else’s injury). Additionally some of the trucking companies are accused of failing to pay truck drivers minimum wages, overtime or other expenses.

Misclassification of employees in California is a serious problem, one that widens profit margins for the companies at the expense of everyone else – including and especially the workers. The reason this is illegal has to do with unfair competition. The idea is that these firms shouldn’t continue to pass on that unfair advantage to their retail contractors at the expense of workers and taxpayers. Continue reading

The California trucking industry is one of many heavily scrutinized over its employee classification (or perhaps rather more aptly, employee misclassification). Many truck drivers are identified as independent contractors. Our Los Angeles employment attorneys know the obvious reason for that is trucking is a dangerous job. When truckers are considered “employees,” they must be paid overtime, given state-required breaks and workers’ compensation for injuries. Trucking companies can also be deemed vicariously liable in truck crashes involving negligent employee drivers versus, while they’d have to be found directly negligent in cases involving an independent contractor driver. L.A. employment lawyer

But now, two trucking contractors plus the California Trucking Association are suing the State of California over a mandated test trucking companies must take to ascertain whether a driver is an independent contractor or employee. In federal court, plaintiffs are seeking reversal of an employee-contractor test laid forth in the California Supreme Court in the case of Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles.

As Los Angeles employment attorneys can explain, the state high court in that case adopted the so-called “ABC Test,” to figure out whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. That was in April.  Continue reading

Two former full-time instructors providing services for the General Assembly while employed by a New York-based contractor say they were wrongly classified as independent contractors. The instructors, hired to teach both part-time and full-time courses in fields of technology, business and design, say they were wrongly denied overtime pay, rest breaks and meal breaks – despite working up to 16 hours daily to prepare lessons, grade assignments, meet with students and attend marketing events. As reported by EdSurge, the instructors say they were paid a flat fee, despite working 80 hours each week. In violation of California Labor Code, the instructors allege the company failed to document how many hours they worked and pay them overtime wages accordingly. They represent more than 1,200 current and former instructors who reportedly taught for the firm from 2013 through this year. appleonthedesk-300x225

In March, the judge proposed – and both parties agreed – to a $1 million settlement, which was signed in July and is now awaiting approval from the judge. After administrative and legal fees, there will be about $590,000 to split among the more than 1,200 instructors.

The case is unique for the fact that while we tend to think of the growing “gig” economy as being the primary source of a growing number of California employee misclassification lawsuits, many fields have employed independent contractors and allegedly failed to pay them.  Continue reading

A trucking association representing trucking companies in 11 states is petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to intervene in an ongoing legal challenge over state-mandated truck driver breaks.employment misclassification lawyer

The group, Western States Trucking Association, has also filed a lawsuit over the owner-operator status, arguing these two issues impact all trucking carriers operating California – no matter where they are based.

The petition submitted to the DOT last month asks for a declaration that truck drivers hauling overweight and over-sized loads are subject to the federal hours of service rules, which (they argue) should supersede the state’s mandated break requirements. The complaint names as defendants the California Department of Industrial Relations as well as the state attorney, and seeks to a nullification of the state supreme court’s ruling that (they say) effectively “eliminates the use of owner-operators, even on-truck motor carriers,” from the trucking industry. 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

Continue reading

A $57,500 settlement was reached in an Orange County gender discrimination lawsuit in which plaintiff, an employee of Irvine Range Water District, alleged she suffered system sexism by her superiors. secretary

Although the settlement agreement did not require the employer to concede any wrongdoing, plaintiff’s complaint asserted there was plenty.

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff was hired as an engineering technician for the district back in 2007. Four months later, she was promoted to executive secretary and then the following year, she received another promotion to analyst. However, things began to spiral downward when a new supervisor came on-board.  Continue reading