It’s not uncommon for a truck driver to be misclassified by his/her
employer as an independent contractor. In fact, the
California Assembly recently passed a bill that if approved would become a law that makes it nearly impossible for
independent contractors to be classified as anything other than employees.
Since 2011, California port truckers have filed hundreds of claims alleging
the companies have been misclassifying them. These claims have resulted
in more than $48 million.
Why do employers misclassify truckers? Because it benefits the employers.
If an employer names a trucker as an employee, that employer will need
to pay federal and state taxes, offer benefits, provide insurance for
unemployment and workers’ compensation, and will have to comply
with many state and federal regulations that govern working conditions,
wages, and the number of hours an employee can work.
But naming a truck driver as an independent contractor, the burden of taxes
and regulations are lifted from the employer. Instead, it is the responsibility
of the driver to pay his own Social Security taxes as well as FICA. The
employer does not have to provide benefits or insurance for the driver.
The employer can also avoid paying overtime or reimbursing the driver
for any business expenses.