This month’s key employment law cases address the test for independent contractor status, the legality of an incentive compensation system, and personal liability for wage and hour violations.
Garcia v. Border Transp. Group, LLC, Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 22, 2018
Summary: Defendants must satisfy Dynamex ABC test to establish independent contractor status as defense to wage order claims, but Borello multifactor test applies to non-wage-order claims.
Facts: Plaintiff leased a taxicab license and taxicab from defendants. Plaintiff brought several employment claims against defendants, including claims for whistleblower wrongful termination, unpaid wages, minimum wages, meal and rest break penalties, wage statement penalties, civil penalties under the California Labor Code Private Attorney Generals Act (“PAGA”), waiting time penalties, and unfair competition. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims on the ground that plaintiff was an independent contractor and not an employee. Relying on the factors described in Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations, 48 Cal. 3d 341, 256 Cal. Rptr. 543 (1989), defendant presented evidence that plaintiff set his own hours, used the cab for personal business, kept collected fares, used a radio dispatch service, entered into sublease agreements, held other jobs, and advertised services in his own name.The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. While plaintiff’s appeal was pending, the California Supreme Court decided Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 4 Cal. 5th 903, 232 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1 (2018), establishing a new test for independent contractor status under the definition of employment found in the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders.