Welp, ACL is being investigated by the California Dept of Industrial Relations

Just got a notice from the California Department of Industrial Relations letting me know A Closer Look LLC, and A Closer Look INC, is being investigated for possible labor law violations. I was sent a 3 page form asking me tons of questions about them, my guess from the questions asked is it may not be legal for them to not offer payment for work...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/28/2019 11:20PM by hagie25.

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I got the same letter. I have a shop scheduled for them in a few weeks wondering if I should cancel. Not sure how to answer a lot of the questions.
Someone posted a few months back that ICs in CA were now employees. This just might stick.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I got the letter, too. It would be interesting if it was determined that we are due back wages, as the letter seems to imply.
So, you signed up and agreed to be an IC, and then you accepted jobs and agreed to do them for the pay that you received (or your reimbursement), and now a lawyer has decided a group of people can go after them for back wages they were never offered or negotiated for? This is why I hate lawyers, and this to me is a totally frivolous lawsuit.

Orlando - lightly shopping NC
This is not a lawsuit. The question has been raised with the State of California's Labor Commissioner's Office as to whether or not we are employees or independent contractors. Someone clearly believes that we have rights as employees as opposed to being independent contractors.
This touches on questions that have been on my mind. Are you even an IC if you do work but never get paid? It's a fishy arrangement from the start. If you do too much of that, it's hard to make a claim to the IRS that you are running a business and that the meals bought are a legitimate expense.

I don't know if that is really what they are investigating. It could be that someone has claimed that they are misclassifying employees as independent contractors.
Even under CA labor law, it is highly unlikely that we would be found to be employees, folks. Someone filed a complaint (as we often see here!) and they are obliged to investigate. Nothing ti see here, folks.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Remember, the IRS is concerned with our TOTAL income and expenses. In the scheme of things reimbursement only shops alone will not change us into employees. Labor and tax laws are FAR more nuanced that that ! It takes a preponderance of evidence of very specific sorts, per those laws and regulations.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
The other thing is hypothetically speaking, does this mean all our Independent contractor's work for all MSC 's (in CA) are subject to this from the date the law changes, if so, it will change the direction of shopping for the betterment of the shopper, although it wouldn't be part of past work. I think ACL is o.k (for now)

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2019 02:36AM by Irene_L.A..
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

The other thing is hypothetically speaking, does this mean all our Independent contractor's work for all MSC 's (in CA) are subject to this from the date the law changes, if so, it will change the direction of shopping for the betterment of the shopper, although it wouldn't be part of past work. I think ACL is o.k (for now)

What was that law that changed?
Labor Law applies whether a company employs people as employees or as ICs. There are laws about what makes someone an independent contractor vs. an employee. Does anyone actually know what the investigation is about or are we all just guessing? I have no idea. I received the paperwork from the state today, but could not glean what the supposed infraction is. Do you think they are doing something wrong? I was a little surprised that they didn't get out ahead of it by contacting everyone on their list, but maybe ACL did not know. (They probably know now!)
@1cent wrote:

@Irene_L.A. wrote:

The other thing is hypothetically speaking, does this mean all our Independent contractor's work for all MSC 's (in CA) are subject to this from the date the law changes, if so, it will change the direction of shopping for the betterment of the shopper, although it wouldn't be part of past work. I think ACL is o.k (for now)

What was that law that changed?

Yes, can somebody cite the reference?

SteveSoCal???? I think that you know some people to whom this applies?
@1cent wrote:

would be nice to see letter aboeThe other thing is hypothetically speaking, does this mean all our Independent contractor's work for all MSC 's (in CA) are subject to this from the date the law changes, if so, it will change the direction of shopping for the betterment of the shopper, although it wouldn't be part of past work. I think ACL is o.k (for now)

I was merely giving my thoughts on the OP's letter about ACL...I know nothing more, just giving my thoughts, do not know of a law change which is why I said "hypothetically"....would be nice to see letter above are talking about.
What was that law that changed?[/quote]

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2019 03:07AM by Irene_L.A..
@hagie25 wrote:

Just got a notice from the California Department of Industrial Relations letting me know A Closer Look LLC, and A Closer Look INC, is being investigated for possible labor law violations. I was sent a 3 page form asking me tons of questions about them, my guess from the questions asked is it may not be legal for them to not offer payment for work...
Could you post some of this letter?

Live consciously....
This may have something to do with the minimum wage increase in California along with other rights of an IC. It also could be regarding terms of when work is completed and someone emails you saying you are not getting paid when you did this, when you did do the shop correctly and you are penalized with no pay without them giving you a chance to correct.

It could also have to do with them saying if you don't respond to this email asap you will not be paid. That breaks labor laws. They also email like insanely up to 40 times per day- same shops same area. Its annoying. It could also be that the $10 they pay for some food reimbursement shops add up to more than an hour with the admin time and that breaks the minimum wage law it certain parts of California.

Many of these companies are on thin ice when it comes to this. Not paying shoppers. I would check directly with the Labor Commissioner Office on the phone before you send out your SS# etc in that letter received to make sure it is legit.

Also some of these companies are not paying on time and you have to email them for late payments. That in itself it a big violation.
Yes, please post the correspondence. Without knowing anything, my guess is the inquiry was most likely initiated by their schedulers.
Investigations are pretty serious when they start sending letter to the workers, This could pre-ample a big class action lawsuit- we do not know. The are obviously gathering information or evidence to look into a claim or lawsuit, not sure.
It was sent in the mail with a direct email and number to the person handling the case.
I think there are a lot of guesses thrown into the mix on this thread. It gets confusing. I added some general musings that I did not intend as speculation about the case. It's just that ACL is unusual in mainly offering reimbursement only shops. I don't know if that violates any laws.

I would think that A Closer Look isn't going to try to influence the investigation. That wouldn't help them.

@kdahlface wrote:

Labor Law applies whether a company employs people as employees or as ICs. There are laws about what makes someone an independent contractor vs. an employee. Does anyone actually know what the investigation is about or are we all just guessing? I have no idea. I received the paperwork from the state today, but could not glean what the supposed infraction is. Do you think they are doing something wrong? I was a little surprised that they didn't get out ahead of it by contacting everyone on their list, but maybe ACL did not know. (They probably know now!)
OK here are the two new bills for CA only.

[www.shrm.org]

AB 5 & AB 71

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2019 05:12AM by SoCalMama.
I got the same letter. Some questions make no sense. For example:

How are you paid?
__ By an hourly rate of $_____ per hour;
__ By a fixed amount of $____ per ____

Neither of those two options apply and there is no "other" option.
@quovatis wrote:

I got the same letter. Some questions make no sense. For example:

How are you paid?
__ By an hourly rate of $_____ per hour;
__ By a fixed amount of $____ per ____

Neither of those two options apply and there is no "other" option.

I got a letter. It was not the same letter because your example was not in the letter I received.
@BusyBeeBuzzBuzzBuzz wrote:

@quovatis wrote:

I got the same letter. Some questions make no sense. For example:

How are you paid?
__ By an hourly rate of $_____ per hour;
__ By a fixed amount of $____ per ____

Neither of those two options apply and there is no "other" option.

I got a letter. It was not the same letter because your example was not in the letter I received.

Very interesting. That was a question in my letter, verbatim. Don't know why they would be different.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/29/2019 02:19PM by quovatis.
Sounds like a fishing expedition. They probably sent similar letters to many people about many companies.
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