Usher v. White, 64 Cal. App. 5th 883 (2021)

The plaintiffs in this putative class action lawsuit (service technicians) alleged they had been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees.  They amended their complaint to add Shirley White and her son Jeff White as individual defendants in the case, relying upon Cal. Lab. Code § 558.1, which creates personal liability for an “owner, director, officer, or managing agent” of an employer.  The trial court granted Shirley White’s summary judgment motion on the ground that she had not participated in the decision to classify plaintiffs as independent contractors and thus was not liable under Section 558.1.  The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that in the absence of “personal involvement” in violating the statute or in causing such violations, an owner has no personal liability.  Here, Shirley White’s involvement in the operation and management of the employer was “extremely limited,” and she did not participate in the day-to-day operational/management decisions of the company.