The Supreme Court in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. today holds that its 2018 decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 applies retroactively to all cases not final when Dynamex became final.  Applying “the general rule that judicial decisions are given retroactive effect,” the court’s unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye answers a question posed by the Ninth Circuit.

Dynamex limited employers’ ability to classify workers as independent contractors.  Today’s retroactivity decision “rel[ies] primarily on the fact that Dynamex addressed an issue of first impression . . . and did not change a settled rule on which the parties below had relied.”  The court said a prior opinion concerning worker classification was in the context of workers’ compensation law and not, like Dynamex, for purposes of a wage order.

Vazquez does not discuss the effect of 2019’s Assembly Bill 5, legislation enacted to, by its terms, “codify the decision of the California Supreme Court in Dynamex and [to] clarify the decision’s application in state law.”