The Third Department, over a two-justice dissent, reversing the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, determined long haul truckers working for LaValle were not employees entitled to unemployment insurance benefits:
Here, long-haul drivers called a LaValle dispatcher to find out what loads were available. The drivers were free to accept or reject any load without penalty from LaValle. Simply stated, they could work when and if they wanted or not at all. Significantly, and unlike Matter of Harold … , the drivers were not required to work exclusively for LaValle and were free to accept jobs with other companies. Moreover, they were not required to lease their vehicles from LaValle. In fact, it is undisputed that about 40% of the drivers owned their vehicles and, of the remaining 60%, only about half leased from LaValle. Subject to compliance with insurance and regulatory requirements, the drivers who agreed to transport loads were allowed to hire other drivers to make the delivery and, in fact, some did so. The compensation rate for the drivers was not set solely by LaValle. Although drivers typically received 70% of the gross revenue for transporting the load, they were free to negotiate a higher percentage from LaValle, and the record reflects that such higher negotiated rates were not rare.
No one from LaValle supervised the drivers. They were free to choose whatever routes they desired in transporting loads. The drivers received no fringe benefits, there was no dress code, they were not required to attend meetings, they were not trained by LaValle and they were not reimbursed for their expenses. Drivers carried their own independent business cards. Claimant testified that he considered himself an independent contractor. He was issued an IRS 1099 form, and he reported that he was self-employed on his state and federal taxes. * * * LaValle and the long-haul drivers met virtually none of the criteria typically considered for an employer-employee relationship … . Matter of Bogart (Lavalle Transp., Inc.–Commissioner of Labor), 2016 NY Slip Op 04264, 3rd Dept 6-2-16
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (LONG HAUL TRUCKERS NOT EMPLOYEES)