In California, a state judge recently ruled that the newspaper carriers for the Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee have been mischaracterized as independent contractors. The court ruled that the estimated 5,000 carriers should have been classified as employees.
The trend of identifying mischaracterized workers has expanded greatly in California and elsewhere. Last year, approximately 1,200 exotic dancers settled a class action lawsuit with the Penthouse Executive Club for approximately $8 million, claiming that they had not been paid minimum wage and overtime.
Many employers mistakenly believe that their workers are independent contractors. Many independent contractors condone, or even request, such characterization to avoid having taxes withheld. Either way, the tolerance for such actions appears to be growing smaller and smaller, and it is reasonable to expect the trend to head toward the Midwest as well.