A new California law goes into effect in January 2019 that makes the company hiring an independent contractor liable for labor law violations. (Senate Bill 1402)

This law specifically applies to those truckers hauling containers out of California ports. This law is aimed at making retail companies (Target, Home Depot, Amazon, etc.) along with trucking companies liable for unpaid wages and other expenses not reimbursed to the contract trucker. (Expenses such as medical costs resulting from on the job injuries.)

If you don’t haul freight out of California’s ports, how could this affect movers? Well, consider the following –
Several years ago, California made homeowners liable for workers compensation benefits if their residential workers were injured, but not otherwise covered by workmen’s compensation. This was intended to cover housekeepers, gardeners, baby sitters and other occasional household “help”. Now every California homeowner’s policy contains a coverage called “California Workers Compensation-Residence Employees”, and all policies include a charge for this extension even if homeowners have no household “help”.

If a moving company dispatched contractors for a move and one of these people were injured at the residence, would the homeowner be liable for workers comp benefits for that injury? Considering California’s efforts to eliminate independent contractors in the transportation industry, this does not seem impossible. Remember that California now has a ban on plastic straws and a ban on sugary drinks in kid’s meals.

California shippers might now need to ask questions on the employment status of the individuals conducting their move.