Photo of Deisy Castro

Today, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated opinion in Troester v. Starbucks Corp., No. S234969 (Cal. July 26, 2018), regarding whether the long-standing de minimis doctrine adopted under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to claims for unpaid wages for minute increments of time under the California Labor Code.

The majority

The California Supreme Court handed down its highly anticipated decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. S222732 (Cal. April 30, 2018), adopting a new legal standard to be used in determining whether workers should be classified as employees or as independent contractors. Specifically, in the unanimous Dynamex decision, the Court professed adoption of a “simpler, more structured test” for determining whether a company “employs” or is an “employer” under the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s (IWC) Wage Orders. The Court not only adopted a new legal standard for worker classifications, but also set out an affirmative burden on a company to prove that workers are properly classified.

At issue in Dynamex was the scope of Martinez v. Combs, 49 Cal.4th 35 (2010), which held that the IWC Wage Orders embody three alternative definitions of “employ”: “(a) to exercise control over the wages, hours or working conditions, or (b) to suffer or permit to work, or (c) to engage, thereby creating a common law employment relationship.” In particular, Dynamex challenged the trial court’s certification of a class of delivery drivers because of the trial court’s reliance upon the three alternative definitions of “employ.” Dynamex argued that the multifactor common law test from S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Dep’t of Industrial Relations, 48 Cal.3d 341 (1989), is the only proper test.Continue Reading California Supreme Court Holds Worker Classifications Easy As A-B-C