Articles Tagged with employee misclassification

Freelance journalists may soon be exempted from the controversial Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect Jan. 1st. The new law codified the California Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dynamex case, which established an “ABC test” for ascertaining whether workers are misclassified as independent contractors when in fact they should be receiving all the benefits of employment.employee misclassification

The law, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, has been the target of gig industry behemoths like Postmates, Lyft and Instacart. Freelance journalists, though, are another group that has been embroiled in a fight over AB5. Specifically, the law stipulates that a journalist who produces more than 35 submissions to a single entity should be considered an employee. But that, freelancers say, would effectively kill their career. Media companies, who increasingly can hire reporters and photographers who live and work anywhere, would be less inclined to hire writers from California – or cut them off at the 35-submissions mark.

Gonzalez said she had received extensive feedback from writers, photographers and journalists about how this would impact their ability to make a living, and said changes would be made to accommodate them, while still offering protection against employee misclassification. She indicated that amendments to the law would be introduced that would remove the submission cap. However, contractors still cannot replace employees. Contracts with freelance journalists would also need to expressly indicate the pay rate, payment deadline, individual’s copyrights to the work. Companies also won’t have the right to restrict freelancers from working for more than one outlet, and they can’t mainly perform their work on the business’s premises. Continue Reading ›

The state’s new worker classification law takes effect on Jan. 1st. Those behind the AB5 legislative effort know it was an uphill battle – but it appears the fight isn’t over yet. Court cases challenging the law are piling up, some companies are saying they simply won’t cooperate (likely to lead to more litigation) and there is a looming multimillion-dollar ballot initiative gearing up for next November. employee misclassification lawyer

Our Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys will be watching these developments closely to see how these disputes unfold.

AB5 is going to make it more difficult for companies to label their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. Legislators backing the measure pointed to mounting evidence that companies are improperly classifying workers as independent contractors to avoid the added expenses of things like workers’ compensation benefits, health insurance, minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, the right to unionize and other benefits to which employees (but not independent contractors) are entitled.

Employer preparations for AB5 should already be well underway. If you operate a small business and still aren’t sure about whether your operations fall under the umbrella of AB5 or if so, how to restructure your employment model, it’s imperative that you contact a longtime employment law firm to help protect your legal interests. Some companies have been able to find creative workarounds that satisfy employees as well as their bottom line. This can include using staffing agencies, having contractors form an LLC (to qualify for a business-to-business exemption) and other strategies.  Continue Reading ›

A new law intended to make it harder for companies to misclassify workers as independent contractors rather than employees has been the source of much controversy and litigation – even though it doesn’t take place for another week. Los Angeles employment lawyer

Los Angeles employment lawyers know that while AB5 has a fair amount of detractors among mega-corporations like Uber (largely the kind of worker relationship model the law intended to target), small businesses that use freelance independent contractors are likely to be impacted too.

The designation of independent contractor has become a store point for lawmakers and labor advocates who argue many of these workers are doing jobs that should count them as employees, entitling them to certain valuable benefits like minimum wages, overtime, sick pay, workers’ compensation insurance if they’re hurt on the job or unemployment insurance if they’re suddenly laid off. Freedom from the responsibility of having to pay these expenses has proven an attractive prospect for many employers. But their designation isn’t the last say. It can be challenged – and increasingly is – since last year’s Dynamex decision by the California Supreme Court and now AB5, both of which strengthen worker protections and make it more difficult for companies to claim workers are independent contractors as opposed to employees. Continue Reading ›

A federal judge in California declined to compel ridesharing company Uber to reclassify its drivers as employees, rejecting plaintiffs’ claims that the alleged misclassification of workers adversely impacts the state of valuable tax dollars due to public assistance spending for low wage workers. Los Angeles employee misclassification lawyer

Plaintiffs filed the motion for injunction by asserting it would benefit the general public. In an 18-page ruling in Colopy v. Uber Technologies Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California declined to treat the motion as a “public injunction,” finding the case’s primary plaintiff, is seeking a private injunction, not a public one. He noted the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tends to disfavor class-wide injunctions in such cases, particularly where no certification has been awarded to the class. Further, he pointed out that many of Uber’s drivers in California had signed arbitration agreements upon employment, meaning most of the drivers in question wouldn’t be entitled to such relief anyway.

Plaintiff employment attorney argued the technology firm impacts not only its own drivers but the industry as a whole, thus negatively affecting a large number of workers by depriving them of employment rights as spelled out in the state’s labor code. Defendant lawyers meanwhile argued an injunction wasn’t needed because drivers would still have the ability to obtain damages for statutory violations after the resolution of the case. A preliminary injunction that would force the company to switch up its entire business model should be considered “extraordinary,” they argued. Continue Reading ›

Independent contractors are entitled to far fewer rights under California employment law than employees or in some cases even job applicants. In filing an employment lawsuit against a company, one must establish they are an employee or prospective employee.employee misclassification Los Angeles

But as our Los Angeles employment attorneys know well, misclassification of employees as independent contractors is rampant. It’s often left to the court’s to decide.

Recently, a California appellate court ordered a new trial in the case of a worker who was technically a temp agency employee, but who took on a supervisory position for five years at the shoe care manufacturing company with which the temp agency contracted. Although the temp agency cut her checks, it was the manufacturer that had the direction and control of her day-to-day work. This, the court ruled, made her an employee for purposes of relief for alleged discrimination and wrongful termination under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Independent Contractor v. Employee

There is no set definition of the term “independent contractor,” which is why courts and enforcement agencies are often asked to consider the fact pattern of each case where employment status is a possible issue. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement begins with the presumption that a worker is an employee, but it is one that can be rebutted by the employer. Continue Reading ›

With the stroke of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pen, the sweeping California employment law limiting businesses’ use of independent contractors has become law and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. employee misclassification

Assembly Bill 5 had the overwhelming support of the state legislature, and the governor’s signature was widely anticipated, as his office had already voiced support for the measure.

Orange County employment lawyers know the goal is to reduce instances of worker misclassification, which is when employees are improperly designated as “independent contractors” rather than “employees,” which deprives them of a host of basic protections afforded to employees, such as:

  • Minimum wage;
  • Sick days;
  • Health insurance benefits;
  • Meal breaks;
  • Rest breaks;
  • Workers’ compensation insurance.

Continue Reading ›

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 ›

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