A federal judge last week issued a temporary ruling, blocking a new state labor law that would have affected more than 70,000 independent truckers.
AB5 makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees and the trucking industry has stated it would suffer great harm as a result of the law.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego granted a temporary restraining order sought by the California Trucking Association while he considers a permanent injunction that would permantly exempt the trucking industry from the law.
Benitez essentially agreed with the association that the state law violates federal law. He also ruled truckers would likely to suffer irreparable harm, and temporarily blocking the law from applying to truckers was in the public interest.
The trucking association’s lawsuit filed in November said many truckers would have to abandon $150,000 investments the right to set their own schedules as a result of the law.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego said the state will continue to fight the association “to return jobs in the trucking industry to good, middle class careers.”
“For decades, trucking companies have profited from misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, taking away rights such as meal and rest periods and fair pay,” she said in a statement.
AB5 “will put tens of thousands of owner-operator truckers, who service agriculture, retail and other industry sectors, out of business,” the California Trucking Association has stated.
Under AB5 a worker can be classified as an independent contractor only if all of the following criteria, known as the ABC test, are met:
The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; the worker performs work that’s outside the usual course of the hiring business; and that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
“Most legal analysis of the ruling agrees the ABC test sets an impossible standard for most of our members to meet,” the Western States Trucking Association has statedm, adding the provision the worker performs work that’s outside the usual course of the hiring business is problematic for the trucking industry.\
An analysis for Truckinginfo.com stated to meet that standard a company must show a worker is performing work outside the usual course of the company’s business. “If a company’s business is trucking, transportation or logistics, then it will be very difficult for truck drivers to pass this part of the test. In addition, the drivers would have to have independently established businesses or provide trucking services to other companies,” the analysis stated.