- Written by Greg Blueford
Near the end of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB-621 which established the Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program. Under this program, employers engaged in drayage services, defined as the transportation of goods over a short distance, at any sea or river port will be forgiven for any penalties associated with misclassifying its commercial drivers as independent contractors.
For the purposes of the bill, a commercial driver is defined as a person who holds a valid commercial driver’s license and is hired or contracted to provide drayage services at a sea or river port. Under this bill, eligible employers can avoid penalties for misclassifying drivers as independent contractors if they execute a settlement agreement with the Labor Commissioner before January 1, 2017, whereby the employer, among other things, properly classifies all of its commercial drivers as employees. To be eligible, the employer must not have: (1) a civil lawsuit pending against it filed on or before December 31, 2015, in state or federal court that alleges or involves a misclassification of a commercial driver; or (2) a pending penalty assessed for committing fraud under the Unemployment Insurance Code.
- Written by Carl Larson
Arbitration agreements are an increasingly effective tool employers can use to deter and defend against individual and class action employment litigation. The widespread use of arbitration agreements, the high stakes involved (particularly in a class action) and the variety of terms and language that are subject to dispute have, however, created a backlog of appeals. While the “wheels of justice” grind away, employers are faced with endless uncertainty about the language in their arbitration agreements.
One such agonizingly slow play is demonstrated by an important decision taken under review by the California Supreme Court on November 12, 2014. California’s highest Court agreed to consider the following issue: “Does the trial court or the arbitrator decide whether an arbitration agreement provides for class arbitration if the agreement is silent on this issue?” As of the date of this publication, oral arguments before the Court have not even been scheduled for this case, leaving this decision months off.