Downtown Sacramento Barbershop Loses Barbers Following High Court Ruling

SACRAMENTO -- A Sacramento barbershop says its barbers quit over a ruling by the Supreme Court of California.

That decision by the state’s high court changed the rules of what defines an independent contractor.

At Bottle and Barlow on R Street in Sacramento on Thursday, owner Anthony Giannotti was the only one cutting hair.

"Unfortunately, I can’t. I lost my whole staff. But we’ll be back up and running next week," Giannotti said to a customer inquiring about a walk-in appointment.

Seven of the shop’s barbers quit after Giannotti told them he could no longer keep independent contractors and would have to make them his employees.

"Something that attracts most of us to this industry is the freedom," Giannotti said. "I don’t want to have a boss above me telling me what to do and that’s kinda what the state's forcing us to do now.”

In April, the California Supreme Court released a decision in a case between independently contracted truck drivers and the company they worked for, Dynamex Operations West Inc.

The high court released a new ABC test for companies to tell the difference between employees and contractors.

Independent contractors must now meet the following guidelines:

-- The individual is free from control and direction, both under his contract and in fact.

-- The service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.

-- The "contractor" does similar work for other businesses.

Giannotti says, in the end, this is going to drive his costs up and it’ll cost us all more to get a haircut.

"Most business owners run on thin margins," he told FOX40. "So when we get these kind of expenses like this only thing we can do is pass it along to the consumer."

He warns that decision is not impacting just his business or even only his industry but all industries that use independently contracted labor.

"This has very, very far-reaching implications," Giannotti said. "Tech industry, construction, FedEx, any sort of delivery that’s independent contractors. This is independent contractors statewide."

In just 10 days, on Sunday, Sept. 16, Bottle and Barlow is holding an event where employment lawyers will be discussing how this decision is affecting independent contractors. Giannotti says all are welcome, not just those who work as barbers.