Program Grants Amnesty to California Carriers That Misclassify Drivers

May 09, 2016

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The California Labor Commissioner’s Office is accepting applications for an amnesty program that will allow carriers to reclassify drivers as employees and avoid liability for misclassifying them as independent contractors.

The Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program allows port drayage companies to enter into a settlement agreement with the Labor Commissioner and Employment Development Department, where the carrier agrees to pay all wages and benefits owed to drivers misclassified as independent contractors, pay all taxes owed to the state, and classify drivers as employees. The program ends Dec. 31, 2016.

"The sheer number of claims filed and wages awarded to misclassified port truck drivers over the last several years demonstrates a significant problem in the industry," said Julie A. Su, labor commissioner. "This amnesty program provides an opportunity for motor carriers to remedy these problems and correct past abuses."

Since 2011 there have been nearly 800 wage claims with the Labor Commissioner’s Office for misclassification resulting in $35 million awarded to misclassified port truck drivers in 302 cases. In addition to legal cases, California’s ports and trucking companies have been affected by union-organized driver strikes related to the issue.

The drivers at the heart of the issue are often classified as independent contractors rather than company employees. Groups such as the Teamsters union allege that companies are using the classification to avoid giving drivers the full benefits of a company employee.

Recently, the National Labor Relations board filed a complaint against port trucking company Intermodal Bridge Transport based on charges by the Teamsters Union that the company was misclassifying its drivers. Unless the two sides agree on a settlement, the complaint could lead to the case being presented before an administrative law judge.

"Worker misclassification is a form of wage theft as it denies workers all the rights and benefits of employee status,” said Su.

Eligible motor carriers can apply for this voluntary program by filling out the Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program (AB 621) application and mailing it to Labor Commissioner's Legal Section, 300 Oceangate, #850, Long Beach, CA 90802. The application may also be emailed to [email protected].


  1. 1. jim white [ May 10, 2016 @ 05:05AM ]

    this is common all over the country and local and federal government is aware of it and looks the other way!

  2. 2. Tom Eaton [ May 10, 2016 @ 08:56AM ]

    The EDD cherry picks who they audit, usually the little guys because they don't have the resources to fight back. This isn’t REALLY amnesty, they are hoping everyone will succumb and rollover, classify their trucks as employees and not have to spend any money proving it! The carriers are still having to pay all the back taxes and classify their drivers as employees, doesn’t say but sounds like all they doing is waiving the penalties.

  3. 3. BubbaSki [ May 10, 2016 @ 01:22PM ]

    Teamsters can't organize (read collect union dues) from Independent Contractors. Teamsters give lots of money to Politicians. Is it any surprise that the Government is trying to force ever Owner Operator to become an Employee driver. Last time I checked, when an OO has their Own Tractor, they determine if they want to lease on to a company or not. What a load of crap this is...leave it to California....

  4. 4. Carol [ May 15, 2016 @ 11:46AM ]

    I am involved with a trucking company who does claim the owner ops as employees. We are barely keeping our heads above water because of the payroll taxes, workers comp, etc. The problem is that we can't compete with the trucking companies who do not have this overhead. What do you do?


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