Newspaper Delivery Drivers Are Employees for Workers' Comp. Purposes

State Compensation Insurance Fund assessed Antelope Valley Press workers' compensation premiums for newspaper delivery workers. AVP classified these persons as independent contractors, not employees, and challenged SCIF's decision in court. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's conclusion that the delivery workers were properly considered employees.

The Court of Appeal found “the evidence does not show that in making deliveries. . . the carriers are engaged in a distinct occupation or business of their own” and “delivering papers requires no particular skill.” Moreover, the same company had employees, whom they admitted were employees, performing the same duties as the purported contractors. In addition, applying the seminal case of S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341, found that nearly all the factors therein pointed to employee status. In particular, AVP controlled numerous aspects of how the deliverypersons handled their duties.

Three recent court of appeal opinions have found employee status with respect to delivery persons. The previous ones were JKH Enterprises v. Dept. of Industrial Relations and Estrada v. Federal Express. The current case is Antelope Valley Press v. Poizner and the opinion is here.

Thanks to Matt Norfleet of our San Francisco office for pointing out the decision.