A California Superior Court ruled last week that Port of Long Beach truck drivers working for Seacon Logix Inc. were employees and not independent contractors.    

"The court found that the company exerted sufficient control over the drivers such that the drivers were employees of the company and thus, enjoy all basic labor law protections," said California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.

The case originated from wage claims filed by four drivers in the Long Beach office of the Labor Commissioner's office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. The drivers claimed unreimbursed business expenses and unlawful deductions, including weekly truck rental fees and liability insurance costs for the Seacon Logix trucks they drove for the Gardena-based shipping and trucking company.

Hearings on the claims on Nov. 16, 2011 resulted in a decision requiring Seacon Logix to pay $105,089.15 for violations including unlawful withholding of wages, interest and waiting time penalties. Seacon Logix appealed the hearing decision with the Superior Court. 

The appeal was heard in a four-day bench trial from Feb. 25-28 at the California Superior Court in Long Beach. The ruling upheld the Labor Commissioner's hearing decision and ordered Seacon Logix to pay $107,802, including interest. The drivers will get the full amount of that award.