In a split 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s order preliminarily enjoining enforcement of California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 5 in California Trucking Association et al. v. Bonta (CTA). If this ruling is not appealed, AB 5, which is chaptered in the California Labor Code under 2750.3, will no longer be enjoined from applying to companies in the trucking industry.
In 2019, the California legislature enacted AB 5 to codify the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex West Operations, Inc. v. Superior Court (2018). In Dynamex, the Court judicially adopted the “ABC test” for employers to pass before classifying a worker as an independent contractor. Prior to the Dynamex ruling, courts applied the multi-factor Borello balancing test to determine the status of a worker.
Over 30 states now apply the ABC test. Subject to some statutory exemptions, in California, the law provides that a worker is presumed to be an employee unless: (a) the worker is free from control and direction of the hiring entity under both in practice and under contract; and (b) the worker performs work outside of the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature of the work performed.