The Ninth Circuit set forth the governing law in California that the “right to control work details is the most important or most significant consideration.” In determining which work details are important, the Court stated that the key are those details that relate to control over “the manner and means of accomplishing the result.” The Court also noted that under California law, there are “secondary” factors that can be relevant to whether the worker is an independent contractor, including whether the work is a distinct occupation; whether the work is specialized and done without the supervision of another; the skill required; who supplies the tools and place of work; the duration of the relationship; the method of payment; whether the work is part of the regular business of the principal; and the intent of the parties.
For those familiar with the common law test for independent contractor status, such as the test used by the IRS, the test under California law is similar in many respects. It is rather different, however, from those state laws that have statutory tests, such as what is commonly called an “ABC” test of three factors, all of which must be proven to establish independent contractor status. Thus, California law is, relatively speaking, a less challenging test for independent contractor status than many other states. But, despite the less restrictive test that Affinity was required to meet in this case, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the drivers were misclassified because Affinity “had the right to control the details of the drivers’ work.”
- Ninth Circuit Shows No Affinity for Independent Contractor Status in Delivery Drivers (employmentlawspotlight.com)
- Another Logistics and Delivery Company Found to Have Misclassified its Drivers as Independent Contractors (independentcontractorcompliance.com)
- The Tax Risks of Misclassifying Employees – The National Law Review (natlawreview.com)
- EMPLOYEE V. INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR – Advice for Small Business Owners (nathansgibson.org)