California continues to follow its prime directive, which is the one that specifies that any law enacted must have damaging and/or embarrassing unintended consequences.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall my recent post about California’s new “gig law,” which was originally intended to protect the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers. Passage of AB5 triggered media employers to lay off hundreds of freelance employees at the start of the 2019 holiday season.

The epic failure continues, as a federal judge has temporarily blocked the new measure from impacting more than 70,000 independent truckers.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order sought by the California Trucking Association while he considers imposing a permanent injunction.

He said the association is likely to eventually prevail on its argument that the state law violates federal law. He also ruled the truckers would otherwise be likely to suffer irreparable harm, and that temporarily blocking the law from applying to truckers is in the public interest.

Too bad the writers can’t make the same claim about their work being in the public interest!

A hearing on the trucking group’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for Jan. 13. The truckers are thrilled at this development.

Independent owner-operator truck drivers, many of whom spent $150,000 or more on their big rigs, have been staging protests over AB5,

saying that becoming employees would hurt them financially and remove the flexibility they prefer.

“AB5 threatens the livelihood of more than 70,000 independent truckers,” said CTA CEO Shawn Yadon in a statement in November. “The bill wrongfully restricts their ability to provide services as owner-operators and, therefore, runs afoul of federal law.”

Additionally, Uber and Postmates are suing California over AB5 as well.

The companies filed suit in Federal Court in Los Angeles on Monday. According to the complaint, the AB-5 statute violates several parts of both the US and California constitutions.

“AB-5 is a vague and incoherent statute that does not accomplish what its sponsors have stated they sought to achieve,” the lawsuit claims.

The companies are joining two drivers who use their apps — Lydia Olson and Miguel Perez — in suing the state.

…Postmates said it is not trying to be exempt from the law to or to avoid established rules for determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. It issued a statement calling for the two sides to work together to find a solution to protect on-demand workers.

“California has failed to heed calls nor answer the big questions about the future of work and workers in a changing economy,” it said. “Now is not the time to give up or stop talking. Californians deserve a thoughtful, collaborative process to address the 21st century workforce. Not another false choice.

Meanwhile, a wide variety of industries are beginning to feel the impact of the law. Translators, for instance, are being fired.

She’s one of those people with a unique talent. Highly trained, highly specialized and as of today highly endangered in California.

“I do medical translations, vital life saving translations for about 50-clients all over the world. As of today, those clients told me they don’t need me anymore because of the new California law,” says Mary Konstantinidou.

While most people are celebrating the new year, Mary and about a million other people here in California have little to be happy about. As of New Year’s Day, her 35-year career as a Greek to English interpreter is considered illegal in California.

It’s a little something the lawmakers in Sacramento call AB 5.

“After this, I don’t know. I might have to move out of state and that’s not fair. I’ve been paying taxes and helping this state for decades, now they tell me I can’t work,” says Mary.

I am sure that I will be preparing more reports regarding the fallout from AB5. Perhaps Californians will learn to vote out the lawmakers who concoct measures focused on virtue signalling instead of personal liberty.

 

 
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