by Hina Shah, Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic at Golden Gate University School of Law
Last week, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous 82-page decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court that settled a question of law that had not been previously decided: what is the proper legal standard in determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under California’s wage and hour laws.
Joining 14 other jurisdictions, the California Supreme Court adopted the ABC standard to determine the worker’s classification under the “suffer or permit” language of California’s wage and hour regulations, called wage orders. A worker is presumed to be an employee unless the company can establish that (a) the worker is free from control and direction over performance of the work, both under the contract and in fact; and (b) the work provided is outside the usual course of business for which the work is performed; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business. Failure to prove any one of these factors will be fatal to being classified as an independent contractor.