Yet another major U.S. court has ruled against a trucking company that it says misclassified drivers as contractors rather than employees of the carrier.
The unanimous ruling was made by California Supreme Court – one of several in the U.S. recently and the third such decision in California over the last two months.
Because of the misclassification, the drivers were denied certain benefits they were entitled to as employees, CCJ magazine reports of the ruling.
The rulings should cause carriers to “reexamine their employment/leasing practices,” the California Trucking Association said in a statement. “The proper use of owner-operators can still be a preferable business model — if done fairly and correctly.”
As is common in these types of decisions in cases across North America, the court considered the degrees of day to day control carriers exhibit over contractors, such as details of the driver’s work, controlling appearance and clothing, ownership and control of equipment, branding on equipment, automatic contractor renewals, etc.
The drivers “invest no capital, own no trucks and do not use their own tools or equipment,” the court documents note. “Drivers are often employed for extended time periods, but they can be discharged without cause, have no operational control, have no other customers, take all instruction from defendants and have no Department of Transportation operating authority or permits to engage independently in cargo transport,” the ruling said.
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