Cali Law Holds Retailers Responsible for Truck Driver Misclassification

A new California law would hold retailers partly liable for working with port trucking companies that have unpaid judgements related to driver misclassification lawsuits or other related labor violations.

The bill, SB 1402, makes retailers jointly liable for violations of state labor and employment laws when they hire trucking companies with unpaid final judgements for failure to pay truck driver wages, imposing unlawful expenses on employees, failure to remit payroll taxes or to provide worker’s compensation insurance, misclassifying employees as independent contractors,

Under SB 1402, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will create a list of port trucking companies that have failed to pay final judgments. Retailers hiring port trucking companies on that list would be liable for future state labor and employment law violations incurred by these companies.

Proponents of the new law believe that truck drivers who are classified as independent contractors and not employees are not truly independent from the companies for which they contract. Therefore, it is contended that by misclassifying these drivers as independent, they are denying them proper wages and benefits. Other alleged practices by these companies include placing drivers in truck leases that leave them with little take home pay and no ability to work for other companies.