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Judge Stalls California Independent Contractor Labor Law as it Relates To Truckers – More to Come?

At the first of this year U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego granted a temporary restraining order sought by the California Trucking Association (CTA) to temporarily block a new California labor law from impacting more than 70,000 truckers, KCRA News reports.

The judge is considering imposing a permanent injunction.

The new law makes it harder for California companies to classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Employees are entitled to minimum wage and benefits such as Workers’ Compensation.

Other classifications, such as freelance writers and photographers, are also seeking a restraining order against the law.

Judge Benitez said the CTA is likely to win the argument that the state law violates federal law.

The judge additionally ruled that the truckers would be likely to suffer irreparable harm, and that temporarily blocking the law from applying to truckers is in the public interest.

The new law has been a concern to ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft and food delivery companies like DoorDash and Postmates, which have vowed their own challenges in court and at the ballot box (Uber and Postmates have since filed a lawsuit).

The trucking association claimed that many of its members would have to abandon planned investments (up to $150,000 per trucker) in clean trucks, and give up the right to set their own schedules in order for to comply with the law. CTA says the law illegally infringes on interstate commerce.

Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego said California would continue to fight the CTA efforts. “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.

Are you concerned about the costs to your trucking company or risks that may be off your radar screen?