A former Matco Tools distributor has filed a proposed class action in which he claims he was misclassified as an independent contractor exempt from California labor law protections.
In an effort to “avoid various duties and obligations owed to employees,” Matco Tools, the suit alleges, systematically misclassifies distributors who, in practice, operate as employees. According to the suit, the plaintiff worked at least 60 hours each week following a Salinas Valley, California sales route out of his mobile Matco Tools store. Upon being hired, the man was required to sign a distributor agreement that broke down “in exhaustive and minute detail” how he should perform his work, the case says. For example, distributors are supposedly provided with a pre-approved list of customers, hardware and software. Additionally, Matco Tools allegedly controls distributors’ inventory and product prices. The suit argues that given how highly controlled his work environment was, the plaintiff was not, in actuality, operating as an independent contractor.
As a result of his alleged misclassification, the plaintiff was deprived of proper overtime wages and paid meal and rest breaks, the case says. Moreover, the man claims he was not reimbursed for business expenses, including at least $50,000 spent on inventory, a $799 to $899 software license fee, and car insurance and uniform costs.