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79 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 899 (2022-2023)
California and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Statutory Employee Classification Scheme

handle is hein.journals/waslee79 and id is 889 raw text is: California and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Statutory
Employee Classification Scheme
Richard H. Gilliland III*
The   battle  over  worker   classification  between  state
governments, on the one hand, and gig economy companies, on
the other, has raged since at least the first time someone ordered
an Uber. Nowhere has this battle played out more prominently
in recent years than in California. In 2019, the state legislature
passed AB 5, a bill which adopted a stringent independent
contractor standard and effectively classified all gig economy
workers as employees of the companies whose apps they use to
find work. AB 5's ripple effects were enormous-the significant
popularity of gig economy apps among consumers launched what
might have been obscure, legalistic wrangling about worker
classification  standards  to  the  forefront of   the public
consciousness. The bill's passage engendered public outcry, legal
challenges, media hysterics, and a record-breaking referendum
initiative whose outcome is still the subject of litigation. In a
sense, strong reactions to a bill like AB 5 are to be
expected-worker classification schemes strike at the heart of
individuals' ability to earn income and to receive certain
protections and benefits reserved only for employees. But largely
missing from the fevered debate over AB 5 has been a close
examination of the bill's place in the long history of worker
* J.D. Candidate, Class of 2022, Washington and Lee University School
of Law; B.A. in Global Affairs, 2013, Yale University. Thank you to Professor
Sarah Haan for her guidance and mentorship throughout the drafting and
editing phases; to the editors of the Washington and Lee Law Review for
making this publication possible; and to my family for their never-ending love,
support, and encouragement.


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