This is a California class action brought against a company for allegedly misclassifying employees as independent contractors, then not paying them overtime and not permitting them to have rest breaks and other things required by law. The defendants this time are Moore Advanced, Inc. and NFI, LP.
The laws in this case are California’s Labor Code, its Business and Professions Code (B&PC), and the Wage Orders issued by its Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC).
The complaint first alleges that many of the people working as logistics/lumper contractors for these companies were misclassified and should have been deemed regular employees. The California Labor Code defines an independent contractor as “any person who renders service for a specified recompense for a specified result, under the control of his principal as to the result of his work only and not as to the means by which such result is accomplished.”
Independent contractors are supposed to have control and discretion as to how the work is performed. Signs of a true independent contractor including their having an established independent business, showing an investment by them in the business, bargaining for contracts, compensation arranged by project rather than time, control over when and how the work is performed, supplying the tools and instruments for the job, performing work that requires a particular skill, and so on.
Plaintiff Rodney Soward has worked for the companies as a logistics/lumping contractor from around March 2018 to the filing of this case. The companies maintained uniform policies and practices over him and similar employees and over the wages they were paid. They controlled the manner and means by which the work was performed and did not permit workers like Soward to take work with other companies at the same time. Because of these and other factors, the complaint argues that the classification as independent contractors was incorrect and that they should have been classified as regular employees.
As regular employees, the complaint says, they were entitled to the protections and benefits of the laws.
Ten different classes have been defined for this action. In general, they concern individuals who provided logistics or lumping services to the defendants, who were classified as independent contractors. They are divided by the claim and/or benefits not received such as minimum wages, overtime pay, meal or rest periods, proper wage statements, proper labor records, and final payment of all wages owed. The time period at issue is from February 20, 2015 through the trial of this matter.