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Wage Rights Takes Center Stage in California Legislature

Ensuring that the wage rights of California workers are protected is the aim of the California Legislature in enacting two new provisions in the California Labor Code. These new provisions address the important issue of misclassification of employees as independent contractors, which deprives them of certain wage rights, particularly to minimum wage and overtime.

First, the legislature passed a law that addressed the issue of misclassification that is prevalent with commercial drivers in California ports, which are the busiest in the country. It enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 621, which creates a safe harbor in the California Labor Code for transportation companies from any statutory or civil penalties that stem from its misclassification of truck drivers as independent contractors. The legislation, titled the “Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program,” allows transportation companies to enter this safe harbor if they conduct voluntary self-audits and take corrective action to reclassify drivers as employees. To qualify, a company must not have a pending suit alleging misclassification filed on or before December 31, 2015 and cannot have any fraud penalties assessed under the Unemployment Insurance Code. This amnesty program was signed into law by the Governor and takes effect on January 1, 2016.

Second, a new legislation also signed into law by the Governor will require California-based professional sports teams to consider cheerleaders as employees, not independent contractors. AB 202, which takes effect on January 1, 2016, classifies professional sports teams’ cheerleaders as employees regardless of whether they were employed directly or through a labor contractor during exhibitions, events, or games.  

You may be entitled to compensation if your employer illegally treats you as an independent contractor when, in reality, you are an employee with wage rights under California and federal law. If so, the firm of Dejban Law can assist you with pursuing your claims in the most effective way possible. Contact us now by email at info@dejbanlaw.com or by phone us at (818) 325-3820 for a free and confidential initial consultation.