March 11, 2014

Court of Appeal Clarifies Distinctions Between An Employee And An Independent Contractor

California Employment Law Update

On January 23, 2009, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, published its decision in Cristler v. Express Messenger Systems, Inc., providing further guidance on the distinctions between an employee and an independent contractor.  The plaintiffs were James Cristler and a class of similarly situated person (collectively “Cristler”), who sued a parcel delivery company, Express Messenger Systems, Inc., doing business as California Overnight (“Express Messenger”).  The lawsuit contained a number of causes of actions, including failure to pay overtime wages, all based on a core contention that Express Messenger improperly classified its employees as independent contractors.