Judge Temporarily Exempts Truck Drivers from CA’s AB 5 Contractor

On December 31, 2019, a U.S. District judge in San Diego granted a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing AB 5 upon independent truckers while he considers a permanent injunction sought by the California Trucking Association (CTA).

Effective as of January 1, 2020, AB 5 creates new standards by which employers classify a worker as either an independent contractor or an employee.  In November, the CTA filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Southern California seeking a declaration that AB 5’s employment test does not apply to the trucking industry, contending that the law is preempted by a 1994 federal statute that prohibits states from making laws that affect the price, route or service of freight-hauling motor carriers.

A hearing is scheduled for January 13th.  Meanwhile, in granting a temporary restraining order for truckers, the judge wrote that plaintiffs “have carried their burden for purposes of emergency relief to show (1) that they are likely to succeed on the merits, (2) likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief, (3) that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and (4) that their requested relief is in the public interest.”

Similar lawsuits seeking exemptions from AB 5 have been filed on behalf of photographers and freelance writers.

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