CWR provided details on our experience in the wake of California clarifying its test for whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor to the California Advisory Committee for the US Commission on Civil Rights as part of their multi-part discussion over the last few months. CWR has seen substantial benefit to workers after the California Legislature passed AB 5, which applied a three-part test called the ABC Test to make the determination on employee classification. The clear statement of the law and the simple test has allowed workers to more easily assess when they are being misclassified by their employers and the opportunity to seek a remedy for the legal violation.
Due to misclassification, many workers are not paid overtime, provided meal and rest breaks, not compensated when injured on the job, or other protections available for employees by law. In our letter to the Committee, we described the situation for a misclassified transportation worker who was told by his employer that the reason he was an independent contractor was because he received a company vehicle. He was told that because he controlled the vehicle, he was in control of his work. However, in applying the ABC Test, it was clear that he did not meet the legal requirements to be an independent contractor, since control is only one of three required elements. This worker is now seeking almost $300,000 in unpaid wages and related penalties through the Labor Commissioner process.
It is our goal to advocate for all low wage workers, and push our lawmakers and representatives to simplify the redress process. We also want to ensure that workers’ are educated about their rights and classification so they are prepared to combat misclassification when it happens.