California Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) is a law aimed at classifying most workers as employees rather than independent contractors, that went into effect Jan. 1, 2020. However, the day before the law was to take effect, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California granted an application by the California Trucking Association (CTA) for a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining enforcement of AB-5 against any motor carrier operating in California. While this is a temporary victory, the Court’s ruling expressly acknowledged its belief that this state law runs afoul of federal law and, as a result, is likely preempted. In other words, there appears to be a good chance that AB5 will be found to be inapplicable to those motor carriers operating in interstate commerce.
On January 13, 2020, CTA’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction was argued before Judge Benitez for 2 hours. Judge Benitez took the matter under submission and a final decision is expected shortly. In the interim, the Temporary Restraining Order will remain in effect until a ruling is issued.