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California bill seeks to end wage disputes for port truckers

The state hopes to stamp out misclassified truck drivers at state ports. California bill SB 1402 will hold companies accountable if they choose to hire trucking companies who have been found to break the law regarding wage theft. Truckers have long protested the wage disputes and some report happiness at seeing the tide finally turn at the port. 

Many truck companies have been found guilty of misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. This leads to issues with workers' compensation, wage theft, imposing unlawful expenses on employees and more. The trucking companies have been accused of cheating their employees to cut costs. 

The proposed bill will create a list of the trucking companies who are known to break the law, and will punish shippers who choose to hire the offending companies and hold them responsible for the lost wages. By targeting larger corporations like Amazon, Walmart and Lowe's, lawmakers hope to force a change that will make the working conditions for port truck drivers more fair. A union representative said that many of the oppressed workers are immigrants. 

The California bill is a response to ongoing labor disputes, wage disputes and strikes at the ports. If a worker is in fact an employee of a company, he or she may not be classified as an independent contractor as a means to avoid paying their legal obligations of workers' compensation and other costs of doing business. An employee that feels that he or she has been the victim of wage theft may wish to consult with an experienced employment law attorney for advice on applicable options for seeking justice.

Source: gobytrucknews.com, "State Bill Holds Shippers Liable For Wage Theft If They Hire Lawbreaking Company", April 13, 2018

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