Employer Improperly Challenged Worker’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits

First Aid Services of San Diego, Inc. v. California Employment Dev. Dep’t, 133 Cal. App. 4th 1470 (2005)

First Aid Services of San Diego, Inc. challenged the California Employment Development Department’s decision to grant unemployment benefits to Tiffany Whittaker, an emergency medical technician employed by an ambulance service, who supplemented her income by accepting assignments from First Aid, a company that sends EMT’s to operate first aid stations at public events. First Aid objected to Whittaker’s unemployment claim on the ground that she was not an employee and, therefore, was ineligible for unemployment benefits. After both the EDD and an administrative law judge determined that Whittaker had been an employee of First Aid, the company filed a petition for a writ of administrative mandamus in the superior court. The EDD obtained dismissal of the petition on the ground that First Aid was attempting to restrain the collection of a tax. The Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of First Aid’s petition, holding that the constitution requires a company to “pay first, litigate later.”