When it comes to employee misclassification, the trucking industry was perhaps one of the worst offenders, driven in part by widening profit margins – reducing wages and benefits for would-be workers as well as liability for trucker negligence in crashes. But last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in California Trucking Association v. Su that proper classification of commercial drivers per the California’s Labor Commissioner’s Department of Industrial Relations’ reliance on the common law standard could not be preempted by federal law. Los Angeles employee misclassification attorneys know this was a major win for commercial truckers across the state. Now, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent declination to hear the California Trucking Association’s appeal of that ruling, it is a win for truckers nationally as well.
The case became one of the majority the high court rejects without further explanation (i.e., “Certiorari Denied”). Of the 7,000 or so cases the SCOTUS is asked to review each year, it only accepts somewhere between 100 and 150. (At least four justices must agree in order for the case to be accepted.)
The CTA argued in its appeal that the common law standard used by the state’s DIR was not consistent with certain aspects of deregulation per a 25-year-old federal aviation law. Further, the CTA argued that owner-operator truckers were to be classified as independent contractors, meaning they were paid set rates (not necessarily aligned with minimum wage and overtime hours, etc.) and that the drivers were to be responsible for their own expenses. Continue reading