California courts have again put their thumb on the scale on the employee side of independent contractors and employees. In Duffey v. Tender Heart Home Care Agency, the court of appeal ruled that an in-home caregiver could be an employee entitled to overtime where the placement agency, not the caregiver, negotiated rates with the client and thereby exercise control over the caregiver’s wages. The court overturned a trial court summary adjudication, and did so even though the contract between the caregiver and the agency described their relationship as “independent contractor” and specifically allowed the caregiver to negotiate rates with the client.
The decision is centered on a specific statute, California’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (Lab. Code, §§ 11450 et seq.), so it’s most direct precedential effect is with respect to such workers. The decision is, however, part of a larger trend. It relies heavily on two recent California Supreme Court decisions: Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903, which famously adopted a strict new “ABC” test for independent contractors under wage orders, and Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, which held that one who exercises “control of wages, hours, or working conditions” is an employer. Duffey applied the Martinez test, emphasizing that control over any of the three is enough, because the domestic worker statute uses the same language.
Read the full story at: More Workers Ruled Potential Employees, Not Independent Contractors – Lexology