There are many ways to misclassify a worker to avoid complying with existing labor laws in California. A recent lawsuit demonstrates that clearly.
California home care franchiser Griswold International LLC is being sued by a group of home care workers for $3 million.
The workers’ statement of claim says that they signed a franchise agreement under the misrepresentation that Griswold used the independent contractor business model. Furthermore, they claim, Griswold mislead them to believe their business model was thoroughly vetted, documented, supported and specifically valid in California.
The home care workers are suing for damages for fraudulent concealment, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of California’s Franchise Investment Law. They have suggested that Griswold knew, or should have known, that caregiver classification (as independent contractors) had been a strong issue of contention in the state, that California had passed legislation and that, in some states, the franchiser had already rolled over to an employee business model or a modified independent contractor model.
As a test case, this one is worth watching. It is hoped the courts further clarify which business model is operative in California. Despite other case law in this area, employers have continued to push the limits of the law.
For more information on the case, refer to Andersen v. Griswold International LLC, No. 3:14-cv-02560 (N.D. Cal. June 3, 2014).
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