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  • California Janitors May Get Labor Law Protections in Wake of Federal Court Decision

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    May 06, 2019
    Los Angeles Times  By Margot Roosevelt MAY 02, 2019

    In a decision opening yet another front in the battle over how to classify workers, a federal appeals court Thursday ruled that an international franchiser could be forced to treat its California janitors as employees rather than independent contractors.

    The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the California Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 Dynamex decision, which makes it harder for businesses to classify their workers as independent contractors, applies retroactively to a class-action case against cleaning giant Jan-Pro.

    The Georgia-based firm, with 10 California outlets and more than $400 million in global sales, operates “a sophisticated ‘three-tier’ franchising model,” U.S. District Judge Frederic Block wrote in the case, Vazquez vs. Jan-Pro Franchising International. Under the model, ordinary janitors, many of whom are non-English-speaking immigrants, are classified as “unit franchisees,” independent contractors who are not subject to labor laws requiring minimum wages, overtime, disability insurance or other labor law protections.

    The lead plaintiff in the case, Gerardo Vazquez, paid Jan-Pro regional franchisee New Venture of San Bernardino $2,800 for the franchise allowing him to clean for the company. Two other named plaintiffs, Gloria Roman and Juan Aguilar, had similar arrangements with a Silicon Valley Jan-Pro franchise, Connor Nolan Inc.  Read More