California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: Independent Contractors

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Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Pledge $90 Million To Fund Voter Initiative To Overturn Assembly Bill 5

Assembly Bill 5, a proposed new law currently pending in the California legislature, would limit and codify last year’s California Supreme Court Dynamex opinion.  If passed and signed into law by Gov. Newsom (he’s already said he’ll sign it), AB-5 would make it nearly impossible for most California employers to hire an independent contractor and … Continue Reading

May 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted May 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Strict Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively; California Employee Is Compelled To Litigate His Employment Claims In Indiana; Employee Could Rely Upon Former Supervisor’s Statement About Existence Of Discrimination; … Continue Reading

Strict Independent Contractor Test Applies Retroactively

Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, 2019 WL 1945001 (9th Cir. 2019) Last year, the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Ops. W. Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal. 5th 903 (2018), adopted the so-called “ABC test” for determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor and in so doing made it much more difficult … Continue Reading

9th Circuit Applies Strict Independent Contractor Test, Dynamex, Retroactively

Last year, we questioned whether California’s new restrictions on independent contractors would apply retroactively. Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit decided in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, 2019 WL 1945001 (9th Cir. 2019), that the landmark ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court should be applied retroactively. The new test established in Dynamex upended the Borello test, … Continue Reading

March 2019 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2019 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Eddie Money Beats Discrimination Lawsuit Based On Free Speech Right; Former Accountant Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit; Employer Violated FCRA With Improper Background Check Notice; Fruit Growers May … Continue Reading

Are You an Employee or a Contractor? Carpenters, Strippers and Dog Walkers Now Face that Question (Los Angeles Times Piece)

The Los Angeles Times published a piece addressing the recent and abrupt change in the rules for determining who is and who is not an independent contractor in California. As is so often the case, there are many unanticipated consequences associated with these new rules. Read the full piece here: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-dynamex-contractors-20190223-story.html… Continue Reading

Property Inspectors’ Putative Class Action Was Properly Denied Certification

McCleery v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2018 WL 6583916 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018) Plaintiffs/property inspectors alleged they were improperly hired as independent contractors by insurance companies and sought payment of unpaid minimum wages, overtime, meal and rest breaks, employee expense reimbursements as well as compliance with various other Labor Code provisions. The trial court concluded that … Continue Reading

Court Provides Further Clarification of CA’s New Independent Contractor Test

On May 1, we reported about the Dynamex Operations W., Inc. v. Superior Court opinion in which the California Supreme Court adopted a new standard (the “ABC test”) for determining if a worker may properly be classified as an employee or independent contractor.  Last Monday, the California Court of Appeal clarified that the “ABC” test … Continue Reading

Taxicab Driver May Have Been An Employee Rather Than An Independent Contractor

Linton v. DeSoto Cab Co., 15 Cal. App. 5th 1208 (2017) DeSoto Cab Co. had required Darnice Linton to pay a “gate fee” in exchange for his obtaining a taxicab to drive for each of his shifts. Linton alleged that he is an employee (not an independent contractor) and that by charging him “gate fees,” … Continue Reading

Telemarketers Were Independent Contractors, Not Agents Of Company

Jones v. Royal Admin. Servs., 2017 WL 3401317 (9th Cir. 2017) Charles Jones and Josh Watson (individuals whose cell phones are registered on the national do-no-call registry) sued Royal Administration Services for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for calls that were made by telemarketers who were employed by All American Auto Protection (“AAAP”), … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Misappropriate Name And Likeness Of Employee

Local TV, LLC v. Superior Court, 3 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2016) Kurt Knutsson, a technology reporter who created “Kurt the CyberGuy” video segments for use on television news programs and station websites, sued Local TV for the use by its stations of CyberGuy material. Although Knutsson had entered into a written agreement pursuant to … Continue Reading

Employee Could Proceed With Misclassification Claim, Though Wrongful Termination Claim Was Properly Rejected

Davis v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 245 Cal. App. 4th 1302 (2016) William A. Davis brought suit against Farmers, claiming he had been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee and asserting that he had been wrongfully terminated on the basis of his age. The trial court directed a verdict in Farmers’s favor … Continue Reading

Unfair Competition Claim Against Trucking Company is Not Preempted By Federal Law

People v. Pac Anchor Transp., Inc., 2014 WL 3702674 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) The People on behalf of the State of California filed this unfair competition law (“UCL”) action against Pac Anchor Transportation, Inc., for misclassifying drivers as independent contractors and for other alleged violations of California labor and unemployment insurance laws.  In response, Pac … Continue Reading

FedEx Drivers Are Employees Not Independent Contractors

Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 2014 WL 4211107 (9th Cir. 2014) In this class action the named plaintiffs represent approximately 2,300 individuals who were full-time delivery drivers for FedEx in California between 2000 and 2007.  FedEx characterizes its drivers as independent contractors in its Operating Agreement.  Similar cases to this one were filed … Continue Reading

Trial Court Must Determine Whether Action Challenging Independent Contractor Status Could Proceed As A Class Action

Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., 2014 WL 2924954 (Cal. S. Ct. 2014) Plaintiffs Maria Ayala, Rosa Duran and Osman Nuñez sought to certify a class of newspaper home delivery carriers in a lawsuit brought against Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc. (“AVN”), alleging that AVN had improperly classified the carriers as independent contractors rather than employees … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Leaves Unanswered Questions in Independent Contractor Case

On Monday, June 30, 2014, the California Supreme Court handed down its decision in Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, a lawsuit brought on behalf of a group of newspaper delivery carriers who alleged that they had been misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees.  The trial court had initially denied certification, finding that common issues … Continue Reading

Trial Court Erred In Failing To Certify Class Action For Unpaid Overtime And Meal-And-Rest Breaks

Bradley v. Networkers Int’l, LLC, 2012 WL 6182473 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012) The three named plaintiffs in this case were among approximately 140 skilled workers retained by Networkers to provide repair and installation services at cell sites. Each worker was required to sign a standard contract, which stated that he or she was an independent … Continue Reading

California Law Should Have Been Applied To Determine If Drivers Were Employees Or Independent Contractors

Ruiz v. Affinity Logistics Corp., 667 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 2012) Fernando Ruiz and similarly situated drivers filed a class action against Affinity alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law for failure to pay overtime, failure to pay wages, improper charges for workers’ compensation insurance and unfair business practices. To work … Continue Reading

Nonexclusive Insurance Agent Was An Independent Contractor

Arnold v. Mutual of Omaha Ins. Co., 202 Cal. App. 4th 580 (2011) Kimbly Arnold filed a complaint against Mutual of Omaha on her behalf and on behalf of a putative class of similarly situated “licensed agents” and “sales representatives” of the company, alleging violations of the California Labor Code, including provisions governing expense reimbursement … Continue Reading

Employee of Independent Contractor Cannot Sue Company That Hired Contractor for Negligence

SeaBright Ins. Co. v. US Airways, Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 590 (2011) US Airways uses a conveyor to move luggage at San Francisco International Airport. US Airways hired independent contractor Lloyd W. Aubry Co. to maintain and repair the conveyor and did not direct Aubry’s employees in their work. The conveyor lacked certain safety guards … Continue Reading

Investor Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against NY Life

Oravecz v. New York Life Ins. Co., 95 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) Paul Oravecz sued Steve Roth and New York Life (which was allegedly Roth’s employer) after losing money in an investment in an offshore foreign currency trading fund, which Oravecz alleged was a “Ponzi scheme.” Among the claims Oravecz alleged … Continue Reading

Investor Permitted To Proceed With Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Against NY Life

Oravecz v. New York Life Ins. Co., 95 Cal. Rptr 3d 1 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) Paul Oravecz sued Steve Roth and New York Life (which was allegedly Roth’s employer) after losing money in an investment in an offshore foreign currency trading fund, which Oravecz alleged was a “Ponzi scheme.” Among the claims Oravecz alleged … Continue Reading
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