On October 2, 2019, the Governor of California approved Assembly Bill 170, which details the alternative test for workers to be classified as Independent Contractors within professions that are specifically excluded from the provisions of Assembly Bill 5, which was approved last month. Workers under AB 5 are presumed to be employees unless the hiring entity demonstrates that their workers pass the 3-part "ABC" test from Dynamex Operations W. Inc. v. Superior Court, (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903, as discussed previously here. Certain professions, however, such as licensed insurance agents, direct sales salespersons, and real estate licensees, are excluded from the ABC test, and instead worker classification in those professions will be determined by conditions set forth in S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341, namely:
With the California Governor's approval of Assembly Bill No. 5 on September 18, 2019, worker classification law in the state has changed significantly by codifying the "ABC" test established in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, 4 Cal.5th 903 (2018). A person who provides labor or services for remuneration is now presumed to be an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits, unless the hiring entity can demonstrate that:
A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel presided over by Frederic Block recently issued its opinion in Vasquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., finding that the "ABC test" for worker classification adopted last year in Dynamex Ops. W. Inc. v. Superior Court should apply retroactively to all wage-and-hour cases in California.
January 24, 2019 Update: On January 17, 2019, Assembly Bill AB 71 (Melendez) (seeking to statutorily supersede the narrow holding in Dynamex, by codifying the widely accepted factors in Borello) was referred to the Assembly Committee on Labor & Employment. Assembly Bill AB 5 (Gonzales) (seeking to codify Dynamex and clarify the decision's application in state law) is an active bill and pending referral to a committee.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently audited the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS's) SS-8 Program, which addresses worker classification issues. The standard options have been either employee or independent contractor. However, in recent years, classification has become more complicated with the emergence of the "gig economy," defined by its reliance on short-term contracts and freelance work.
The long-anticipated case Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, was issued on April 30, 2018. The case dealt with whether delivery drivers classified as independent contractors were misclassified as such under California Industrial Wage Commission Wage Order No. 9-2001.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently launched the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is designed to quickly resolve unintentional minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) without penalty to qualified participants. Workers will benefit by swiftly receiving back wages that are owed, and employers can get into compliance without paying penalties. Employers must act quickly, however, since the pilot program is scheduled to end in about six months.
In January, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted review of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (Lee) (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 718.
On the heels of the most recent development in the Uber worker classification dispute, the Internal Revenue Service has put together a free webinar about the differences between Employee and Independent Contractor worker classifications. Join the agency on May 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST) to learn about control factors, voluntary compliance, and IRS Form SS-8. Register here: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/925/14635
Employers who wish to utilize independent contractors in their business model may often do so, however, adequate review of the employers' documents and practices is crucial to a successful business plan based on an independent contractor workforce. This week, Uber learned this lesson the hard way.