January 2, 2020

Court Exempts Independent Truck Drivers from AB 5

A U.S. District Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the state from applying AB 5, California’s new independent contractor law, to independent truck drivers.

The case filed by the California Trucking Association (CTA) contends that AB 5, the bill that codified and expanded the “ABC test” adopted by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court for determining whether workers in California should be classified as employees or as independent contractors, is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA). The lawsuit further contends that the ABC test violates of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by imposing an impermissible burden on interstate commerce.

In his ruling issuing the TRO, U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said that CTA is likely to prevail on its argument that AB 5 violates federal law as applied to independent truckers and that the truckers are likely to suffer irreparable harm if the new law is applied to them.  

A hearing on CTA’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for January 13.