UPCOMING / Battle over “independent contractor” versus “employee” legal status for truck drivers: Bill New Jersey legislature sent to Gov. Christie making it much harder for drayage and parcel delivery drivers to have status as “independent contractors”. Comment: Huge issue for motor carrier cost structures, and Teamsters and their allies in legislatures and state and federal labor agencies.

Question is whether or not Gov. Christie will veto.

News stories here and here.

Copy of bill here.

MOTOR CARRIER (OWNER-OPERATOR AND TITLE VII) / Title VII case alleging sex discrimination for motor carrier’s termination of an owner-operator agreement with plaintiff following a period when such plaintiff had been an “employee” of such motor carrier – held: Title VII does not govern contract relations between a motor carrier and an owner-operator where, applying agency principles provided by state law, such owner–operator relationship truly denotes independent contractor status for the owner-operator. In particular, the fact that owner-operator opted under her contract to elect to receive multiple additional services offered to her by motor carrier did not evidence such motor carrier’s “control” as she had in fact chosen to take them – they were not a precondition of being an owner-operator.

Zents v. Baylor Trucking Co., No. 5:11CV1941, Slip opinion (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, April 11, 2013). Free copy of opinion available here.

Court relied heavily on two precedents applying state agency law to determine owner-operator / independent contractor versus employee truck driver status:

Laredo v. CRST Malone, Inc., 820 F.Supp.2d 698 (E.D.N.C. 2011). Free copy of opinion available here

Taylor v. BP Express, Inc. 2008 WL 5046071 (S.D. Ga. 2008). Free copy of opinion available here.