By signing AB 621, California Governor Brown sets high bar to end port driver misclassification
CA Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 621, sponsored by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D–West Covina) who serves as the Chair of the powerful Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment. AB 621 provides a limited opportunity for amnesty for port trucking companies who voluntarily reclassify their misclassified drivers as employees rather than independent contractors. Though these companies will be obligated to repay the misclassified drivers all wages and benefits owed, as well as back taxes, the company will be relieved of liability for statutory and civil penalties. In recent years, more than 700 port drivers have filed wage and hour claims with the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE). Given the potential financial liability from all of these claims is more than $50 million, AB 621 could be a powerful tool for the drayage industry to take advantage of in order to modernize its business practices.
“For far too long, port drivers have been misclassified as ‘independent contractors’ when they are in fact employees,” said Assemblymember Hernández. “AB 621 is an important first step in the industry’s efforts to modernize and improve efficiency at our ports, which represent a vital component of our state and federal economy.”