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California Labor Law Case Triggers More Rights for Janitors

California Labor Law Case Triggers More Rights for Janitors


A recent ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will give janitors in California more rights under the state’s labor laws. In the class-action case against cleaning corporation Jan-Pro, plaintiffs claimed they were paid as independent contractors instead of employees. Because Jan-Pro uses a three-tier franchising model, they classify janitors as “unit franchisees,” which means they avoid having to abide by labor law regulations regarding wages, overtime, and benefits. The court upheld a 2018 ruling by the California Supreme Court, which made it more difficult for businesses to call workers independent contractors.

Gerardo Vazquez, the head plaintiff in the case against Jan-Pro, had paid a California franchisee of the company $2,800 for a franchise. This would allow him to clean exclusively for the company. However, he was classified as a unit franchisee and thus, received no benefits. Other plaintiffs in the case had similar experiences. The ruling is a big step forward for California janitors who work tirelessly but aren’t rewarded like standard employees. It also levels the playing field in the janitorial industry, forcing Jan-Pro and similar companies to treat workers as employees instead of contractors.

Understanding California Labor Laws

To fully grasp how the ruling impacts janitors’ lives, it helps to understand some of the key rights defined by California Labor Laws. Many of these rights aren’t provided to independent contractors like the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit against Jan-Pro. 

  • Overtime pay – An employee shall get one-and-a-half times their normal pay rate for all hours worked beyond eight and up to 12. They’ll also receive this rate for the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of a workweek.
  • Minimum wage – Under the state’s labor laws, employees in California must be paid at least the minimum wage. This is $12.00 per hour for businesses with over 26 employees and $11.00 for businesses with under 26. The minimum wage is the same for both adults and minors.
  • Mandatory breaks – Employers must permit employees to take breaks in the middle of each shift. Breaks must be at least ten minutes for every 4 hours worked. If a break is not allowed, the employer is obligated to pay the employee one hour extra at their normal pay rate.
  • Paydays – In the state of California, wages must be paid at least twice a month. Employers must designate specific paydays and notify employees of the time and location of each payment. Any overtime wages must be paid no later than the next payday after the pay period the overtime hours were recorded.

As an employee, you have the right to seek compensation for labor law violations. An experienced attorney who understands California labor laws can determine where your employer was negligent and how much you’re entitled to.

Contact an Upland Labor Law Attorney Today

If your employer has failed to provide appropriate pay or benefits outlined by California law, you need an attorney to protect your rights. At the Law Office of Donald S. Fair, we have the experience necessary to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. We genuinely care about California workers and work hard to protect their rights on a daily basis. Contact us at (909) 738-1839 to schedule a consultation today.


Donald S Fair

417B N Central Ave.
Upland, CA 91786