Ninth Circuit: Cab Operators Were Employees, Not Independent Contractors

When a union organizes an employer's workers, the National Labor Relations Act governs the union election. Independent contractors cannot be organized because they are not considered "employees." When an employer claims that workers are independent contractors as a defense to union organizing, the NLRB (and a reviewing court) will apply federal law. In NLRB v. Friendly Cab Co., opinion here, the Ninth Circuit held that Friendly's cab drivers were employees, not independent contractors, and therefore were properly organized by the union. The opinion thoroughly discusses the criteria federal courts apply to independent contractor analysis in the labor law context.