Tully Rinckey PLLC Proclaims New Law Threatens Trucking Companies that Misclassify Employees off the Road

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New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act Takes Effect March 11

Performing commercial goods transportation services for a commercial goods transportation contractor shall be classified as an employee.

Starting March 11, 2014, Central New York commercial goods transportation contractors can be hit with thousands of dollars in civil and criminal penalties – or imprisonment – if they willfully misclassify truck driver employees. Tully Rinckey PLLC Associate Heather L. Youngman is immediately available to discuss the law and its impact on businesses.

The New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed on January 10, 2014, aims to combat the widespread illegal practice of misclassifying employees as independent contractors. A Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations study concluded that more than 700,000 workers in audited industries statewide were misclassified each year between 2002 and 2005.

The new law, which takes effect March 11, 2014, creates a “presumption of employment in the commercial goods transportation industry,” under which people “performing commercial goods transportation services for a commercial goods transportation contractor shall be classified as an employee.” The law creates exemptions from this presumption for independent contractors and “separate business entities,” and it outlines two tests for determining who or what falls within these exempted categories.

The law includes harsh penalties for commercial goods transportation contractors that violate these provisions, resulting in a misdemeanor offense. They include:

  •     1st offense

o    $2,500 civil penalty per misclassified employee
o    Up to 30 days imprisonment or up to a $25,000 criminal fine

  •     2nd and subsequent offenses

o    $5,000 civil penalty per misclassified employee
o    Up to 60 days imprisonment or up to a $50,000 criminal fine

The law also features anti-retaliation provisions, which are the same as the civil penalties outlined above. It also extends a private right to action to victims of retaliation.

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To speak to Syracuse attorney Heather L. Youngman, or for more information about Tully Rinckey PLLC, please contact Brandon Adamczyk at (315) 492-4700 or at badamczyk(at)1888law4life(dot)com.

Tully Rinckey PLLC is a multi-state law firm dedicated to providing quality legal representation and customer service to individuals, families and businesses throughout New York’s Western, Central, Finger Lakes, Capital, and Hudson Valley Regions. The team of attorneys, paralegals, and professionals helps clients in a wide range of practice areas. The firm maintains a Web site, http://1888law4life.com, with additional information about its attorneys, achievements, and news stories involving the firm’s work.

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Brandon Adamczyk
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