Running a business is difficult. It demands a person's time and money, sometimes beyond what is comfortable to give. Nevertheless, business owners are required to operate within the law, especially when it comes to providing workers' compensation coverage to their employees. A local cab company has learned that the California Labor Commission is serious when it comes to protecting the rights of workers and the integrity of hard-working business owners.
When the husband and wife who owned the taxi company were investigated in 2014, it was discovered that they had not provided workers' compensation insurance for their drivers -- as required by law -- for nearly three years. To justify this, the owners misclassified their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. The Labor Commission fined the company $522,300. The owners appealed, claiming that the drivers were indeed contractors, and that cabs they used were leased from the taxi company.
After considering the appeal, the Labor Commission affirmed its ruling, and a court agreed when the company petitioned for a review of the decision. The court found considerable evidence that the drivers were not contractors and should have been covered by workers' compensation. Nevertheless, the owners of the company persisted in denying them insurance until the Labor Commission asked the court to issue a Stop Order. The agency settled with the company for a reduced fine and the agreement that the company would cease operations at the end of 2016.
The California Labor Commission commended those employers who sacrifice to protect their employees. If those employees are injured on the job, they should be able to depend on workers' compensation to cover their medical bills and lost wages. They can also depend on the help of a workers' compensation attorney to advocate for them to ensure they receive the maximum benefits they deserve.
Source: prnewswire.com, "Labor Commissioner Agreement Holds Santa Rosa Taxi Company Accountable for Failure to Carry Workers' Compensation Insurance and Worker Misclassification", Dec. 29, 2016