Third Circuit Court of Appeals Holds NJ Employment Test Not Preempted

On January 29, 2019, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision in a case titled Bedoya v. American Eagle Express, Inc. brought by Winebrake & Santillo and co-counsel Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC on behalf of delivery drivers in New Jersey.

In a precedential decision, the federal appellate court held that a federal law limiting state regulation of the trucking sector called the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“FAAAA”) does not preempt New Jersey’s ABC test for distinguishing between employees entitled to the state’s wage protections and independent contractors who are not. A copy of the Third Circuit’s opinion is attached.

Under New Jersey’s version of the ABC test, an individual is presumed to be an “employee” unless a business can show the worker is free from its control or direction, performs work that is outside the usual course or place of business, and works “in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.” A business must demonstrate that all three prongs of the test are met to justify an independent contractor classification for workers.

This is an important victory for workers who are improperly misclassified as non-employee independent contractors. If you one of your friends or family members worked as a driver and did not receive overtime premium pay or was subject to deductions to their compensation, we would be happy to provide a free and confidential consultation.

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