Court Rules Drivers as Independent Contractors in Washington State

- According to a May 12 newsletter from the American Trucking Associations, the Washington State Supreme Court has ruled against motor carriers who were contesting their drivers’ status as independent contractors.

The dispute involves a claim by the state of Washington that motor carriers had wrongfully misclassified their drivers as “owner-operators” in order to avoid certain regulations such as unemployment compensation taxes.

The carriers sued under the federal Civil Rights Act and state tort law, and Washington’s lower courts ruled, in part, in favor of the carriers. However, the Supreme Court has overruled them, asserting that if carriers had a dispute they were required to follow the state’s appeals process for tax assessments instead of tort litigation.

Find the entire newsletter from ATA online here.

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