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Dont HR Alone #4 - 5 Workers Misclassified, 1 Million Dollars in Damages

Stories Today:

U.S. District Court upholds Labor Commissioner’s judgment in favor of port and rail truck drivers improperly misclassified as independent contractors — CALIFORNIA — Employee misclassification, (May 24, 2017)

On rehearing, panel reaffirms finding that retiree benefits were not vested — FEDERAL NEWS, (May 24, 2017) - Reaffirms right to renegotiate CBA's

Workers are stressed out, but they’re not taking time off, survey shows — SURVEY RESULTS, (May 24, 2017)

Workers are stressed out, but they’re not taking time off, survey shows — SURVEY RESULTS

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 3 in 5 workers (61 percent) say they are burned out in their current job, and 31 percent report high or extremely high levels of stress at work, yet a third of all workers (33 percent) have not taken or do not plan to take a vacation this year. Additionally, the survey shows:

  • 33 percent of workers said they won't be taking a vacation this year, down slightly from 35 percent last year.

  • 3 in 10 workers still stay connected with work during vacation.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 have left vacation days unused in 2016.

  • People in power positions – i.e., senior management and vice presidents – are the least stressed of all workers.

  • Women are more likely to report high stress levels at work than men.

  • Anger issues at work, depression and sleepless nights are among stress-related symptoms workers say they have experienced.

When workers do take advantage of vacation time, they are often not fully disconnecting from their jobs — 3 in 10 (31 percent) check work email while away and nearly a fifth (18 percent) check in with work. More than a third (36 percent) say that they've returned from vacation to find so much work, they wish they'd never left at all, and 18 percent say vacations cause them to be more stressed out about work. This could be the reason nearly 1 in 5 (17 percent) left vacation days on the table at the end of last year.

"If you're a boss, it's important that you role model how to take a vacation," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "If you're prone to answering every email and phone call that comes through on your own vacation time, consider the example you're setting for your team members. You need to set up an automated response email, and only respond to absolutely urgent emails while you're away. Direct all calls to an assistant or colleague at the office. Show your employees that vacation time matters to you and to your company and its culture."

The negative impact of stress. Nearly a third of workers say work causes high or extremely high stress levels for them — an issue that is impacting women (34 percent) more than men (27 percent) — and 79 percent say their company does not offer classes or programs to manage that stress. As a result of stress, workers are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Being tired all the time: 29 percent;

  • Sleepless nights: 26 percent;

  • Aches and pains: 24 percent;

  • High anxiety: 23 percent;

  • Weight gain: 18 percent;

  • Can't keep things straight in your head: 17 percent;

  • Anger issues at work: 16 percent;

  • Depression: 15 percent;

  • High blood pressure: 10 percent;

  • Weak immune system: 6 percent;

  • Nausea: 5 percent; and

  • Hair loss: 5 percent.

Stress is also impacting areas such as job satisfaction. A third of workers with high levels of stress (33 percent) say they are dissatisfied with their job. Seventeen percent of workers say they are dissatisfied with their job overall.

While stress and being burned out impact workers across the organization, the bottom ranks seem to be more burned out than others:

  • Senior management/vice president: 43 percent.

  • Director/manager/supervisor/team leader: 69 percent.

  • Professional/technical staff member: 58 percent.

  • Entry level/administrative/clerical: 61 percent.

About the survey. The national study was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 16 to March 9, 2017 among a representative sample of 3,215 full-time, private sector workers across industries in the U.S.

Source: CareerBuilder.

S. District Court upholds Labor Commissioner’s judgment in favor of port and rail truck drivers improperly misclassified as independent contractors — CALIFORNIA — Employee misclassification

A federal court judge has sided with California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su, affirming her office’s judgment in favor of five port and rail truck drivers against XPO Cartage Inc. The ruling awards the drivers reimbursement for expenses and unlawful deductions in the amount of $958,660 plus attorney’s fees and costs.

The Labor Commissioner previously issued awards to the five drivers following hearings that found they had been misclassified as independent contractors. XPO Cartage appealed the five decisions in Superior Court and the case was removed to Federal Court, where attorneys for the Labor Commissioner represented the drivers. After a four-day bench trial and post-trial briefing, U.S. District Court Judge William Keller ruled the cases were not preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 and that all five drivers were misclassified as independent contractors entitled to reimbursement for expenses and unlawful deductions.

“The United States District Court’s decision in this case vindicates the rights of five employees who have sought for years to recoup the deductions unlawfully withheld from their wages due to being misclassified as independent contractors,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “My office is dedicated to ensuring workers are paid what they are due under the law and ensuring workers are properly classified.”

State courts have previously upheld the Labor Commissioner’s awards in misclassification cases in the port and rail trucking industry. In 2013, Superior Court Judge Michael Vicencia rendered judgment in favor of four port truck drivers and against Seacon Logix Inc. in the amount of $107,802. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed Judge Vicencia’s judgment in its published decision Garcia v. Seacon Logix, Inc. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 1476. In 2015, Superior Court Judge Ross Klein also affirmed the Labor Commissioner’s finding of misclassification and awarded port truck driver Ho Lee $179,390 for reimbursement of expenses and unlawful deductions following a three day bench trial.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, News Release No. 2017-39, May 23, 2017,

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