Can Truckers in California be Independent Contractors?
As of January 2020, a new law in California went into effect which makes it more difficult for workers to qualify as independent contractors. It is known as AB5 or the Gig Worker Law. See our full explanation of this and independent contractor vs employee status.
However, AB 5 does not currently apply to independent, owner-operator truckers, as a result of a court order. The case was brought by the California Trucking Association. The court has placed a preliminary injunction on AB 5 as applied to truckers, as it may be preempted by the supremacy and commerce clauses in the U.S. Constitution (see our Legal Basics for an explanation of these), due to conflict with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA). It remains to be seen what will be the eventual outcome of the case.
Since AB 5 is not in effect for truck drivers with their own trucks and who operate their own businesses, this means that they are now subject to the less restrictive Borello test to determine whether these truckers are employees or independent contractors. See more about the Borello test.
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