Linton signed a preprinted agreement, described as a “Lease Agreement,” with DeSoto Cab Company. Under the terms of his agreement, he paid a “gate fee” of $100 each time he took the cab out. In exchange, he got the keys, a taxi medallion, and a "waybill." The bottom of each waybill stated: "DRIVE CAREFULLY. DRESS NEATLY. BE COURTEOUS." Other than the “gate fee,” he kept his fares and tips. The agreement could be terminated by either party.
He was, however, assigned regular shifts and required to lease the cab for 10 hours each shift. The cab was equipped with GPS tracking, as well as audio and video recording devices mounted on the windshield. About 60 percent of Linton’s fares came from street hails. Dispatch radio calls accounted for most of the remainder.
After DeSoto terminated the Lease agreement, Linton filed a complaint with the Labor Commissioner's office contending that he had been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. He claimed that he was owed wages, overtime and waiting time penalties under the California Labor Code. The Labor Commissioner held for Linton. The trial court reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court.
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This is good for workers who claim that they are owed unpaid overtime in California because it reinforces the principle that courts should look at the substance rather than the form of working agreements to determine how broadly the protections of law extend.