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OC Register settles independent contractor suit for $22 million

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

The Orange County Register recently agreed to pay $22 million to settle a class action brought by its paper carriers, who claimed the newspaper misclassified them as independent contractors rather than employees.

The settlement will bring to an end a two-month trial against the newspaper, which is owned by Freedom Communications Inc.

Despite the settlement, the Register is still not required to classify the carriers as employees. Instead, the carriers agreed to be considered independent contractors, but retained the right to bring claims against the paper over their employment status in the future.

However, the carriers will not be able to bring claims for the class period involved in this suit, which extended from July of 1999 to August of 2008.

According to the carriers’ attorney, the Register and carriers agreed to change their contracts to reduce or eliminate fees, such as charges for late papers or delivery problems.

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