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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement after U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by the Western States Trucking Association (WSTA) seeking to undermine state regulations that protect the welfare of workers. The ruling in Western States Trucking Association v. Schoorl upholds California’s framework of laws and regulations determining the status and classification of workers as employees.
“This court ruling is a victory for truck drivers and for all California workers who put in the time and labor at the behest of their employer,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The courts have once again demonstrated that it is well within a state’s right to establish standards for the welfare of those working within its borders. To all those in California who work hard to make an honest living: we’ve got your back.”
“This is another victory in our fight to protect truck drivers from misclassification,” said California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su. “When drivers' rights to basic workplace standards are violated, this case makes clear that the state has the right and responsibility to protect them according to California law.”
In the decision, Judge England ruled that WSTA failed to demonstrate a viable claim in its challenge to the ABC test, which determines if a worker should be deemed an employee or an independent contractor. The test stems from the California Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in Dynamex Operation West, Inc. v. Superior Court and provides guidance on interpreting California’s wage orders, which are regulations issued by the California Department of Industrial Relations. The purpose of wage orders is to provide for both minimum wages and the general welfare of employees across a wide range of industries.
The favorable ruling in this court case builds on Attorney General Becerra’s efforts to protect the rights of workers across California. In February, Attorney General Becerra and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office filed a petition before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to defend California meal and rest break rules. In January, the California Department of Justice joined a multistate comment letter opposing a National Labor Relations Board proposal that would diminish protections for millions of workers. Last year, Attorney General Becerra filed an amicus brief supporting the rights of truck drivers to receive reimbursement for certain expenses incurred in relation to their employment. Attorney General Becerra also co-led a coalition of 17 attorneys general opposing a Trump Administration rule to allow employers to pocket the tips of certain employees, threatening the loss of up to $5.8 billion of workers’ earned tips. In November 2017, Attorney General Becerra filed a lawsuit against One Source, a janitorial subcontracting company based in Orange County, to protect janitorial workers in retail establishments all over California from wage theft.
A complete copy of the court’s decision can be found here.