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California Attorney General Fights Employee Misclassification and Workers' Rights Violations

July 9, 2010

In yesterday's blog, our Southern California wage and hour attorneys discussed a recent case of employee misclassification involving port drivers in Long Beach and Los Angeles, California--a topic California Attorney General Jerry Brown has vigorously pursued, in order to expose companies who violate worker's rights and operate hidden economy schemes.

As California Attorney General, Brown has reportedly focused on prosecuting California port trucking companies for engaging in employee misclassification, and for failing to provide workers with Social Security, worker's compensation, and Medicare benefits that they are legally entitled to, according to California state law.

In February, Brown won his fifth lawsuit against port trucking companies, after the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County ruled that a fleet operator in Southern California, Pacifica Trucks, misclassified port drivers as independent contractors--claiming its workers as independent contractors to skirt the responsibility of paying into Medicare, Social Security, and employment-related state taxes.

Brown argued in the lawsuit, filed in 2008, that the drivers for Pacifica should have been classified as employees, with all of the legal benefits that employees are entitled to under state law, and not independent contractors--as Pacifica Trucks maintained total control over the drivers, by providing and covering the trucks, gas, equipment, and other employee expenses related to their business, including repairs.

Attorney General Brown also claimed that by misclassifying the port drivers, Pacifica Trucks maintained a clear cost-saving advantage over trucking competitors that was unfair--a violation of California Business and Professions Code 17200. This is a topic our attorneys discussed in another recent blog, reporting on California Representative Lynn Woosley's (D-CA) Employee Misclassification Prevention Act (EMPA).

After winning four other previous lawsuits against trucking companies, the Attorney General's office continues to pursue investigating other companies who are suspected of employee misclassification, and violating worker's rights.

Brown claimed in a statement that these lawsuits should send a message to California companies--that if they cheat California workers out of their legally entitled employee benefits according to California state law--"we're coming after you."

If you have experienced employee misclassification, or other violations of California wage and hour laws, contact our attorneys at Howard Law, PC for a free consultation about your rights. In cities in Orange County, and throughout Southern California, call us today, at 1-800-872-5925.

Brown Wins Fifth Suit Against Port Trucking Companies that Violated Workers' Rights, Office of the Attorney General Press Release, February 4, 2010

Class-action Suit Filed Against Wilmington Truck Company, Daily, June 30, 2010

Port Truckers File Class Action Suit Claiming Wage Theft, Trucking, July 1, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Office of the Attorney General: State of California, Edmund G. Brown, Jr

Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH): The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)