Steele Law Group, PLLC is dedicated to providing its clients with updates from around the country when courts deliver decisions that may affect how our clients work in their businesses. A decision that may further clarify the definition for classifying workers as independent contractors or employees has come from a California court. Steele Law Group wants to make sure that everyone reading this blog gets this news!
On May 2, 2019, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California decided Vazquez vs. Jan-Pro Franchising International, a case brought by Gerardo Vazquez, a janitor. Mr. Vazquez purchased a "franchise" for $2,800.00, and then was allowed to clean for Jan-Pro Franchising. Vazquez was paid for his work as an independent contractor.
Vazquez and the other Plaintiff janitors filed the Vazquez case seeking classification as employees of Jan-Pro so that they would be eligible to receive California mandated minimum wages, overtime, meal and rest periods, disability insurance and other labor law benefit requirements. They also sought multiple years of overtime wages and back pay.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals looked at the "A-B-C" 3-Prong Test decided earlier in Dynamex Ops. W. Inc. v. Superior Court. In Dynamex, the California Supreme Court held that an "A-B-C" 3-Prong Test should be applied to determine whether workers are classified as employees or as independent contractors. The three "A-B-C" prongs are:
(A) that the worker is free from the control of the hiring entity (employer) in connection with work performance;
(B) that the worker performs work outside the hiring entity's usual business; and
(C) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independent business of the same nature as the work performed.
According to the Dynamex ruling, only if all three "A-B-C" prongs are supported by facts and evidence may a worker be classified as an independent contractor. If all three "A-B-C" test prongs are not supprted by facts and evidence, then a worker is classified as an employee under California law. And that means that the worker is entitled to receive benefits under California's minimum wage, overtime pay, meal and rest periods, disability insurance, and other labor law benefit requirements.
The Dynamex decision is so important in California, that the California Legislature drafted Assembly Bill 5 to codify the Dynamex "A-B-C" 3-Prong Test into law.
Gerardo Vazquez and the other Plaintiffs have pursued their case for more than a decade. Their battle continues on, because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Vazquez only serves to apply the Dynamex "A-B-C" 3-Prong Test retroactively for workers. The final decision concerning the janitors' other wage claims has not been finally decided.
Steele Law Group clients and visitors reading this blog may ask, "Why does a California court's ruling affect me or my company when I am located in another state?" or "Why is this court ruling important?" To the lawyers at Steele Law Group, this court decision is very important and may affect individuals, families and companies in California, and all across the United States of America.
Here at Steele Law Group, our experienced team of attorneys can help you compare the rulings in Vazquez and Dynamex with your own personal facts and circumstances.
If you own or operate a company, our attorneys can craft advice for your company to make sure that your workers are classified to help you avoid the pitfalls of labor law violations with an eye on this California court ruling.
If you are a worker who believes that you are working as an employee, but classified and paid as an Independent Contractor, our firm may be able to help you file a claim for overtime wages and back pay.
Look to Steele Law Group for all of your employment and labor law needs. We are here to help.