By Stephen T. Melnick, a Shareholder with Littler Mendelson, P.C. in the firm’s Boston, MA office.

California’s new independent contractor law, commonly known as AB 5, has proven controversial from the start.  Under this law, many individuals who formerly would have been considered legitimate independent contractors will likely be deemed employees instead.  Given the widespread disruption that this law is expected to cause, a flurry of challenges have arisen in recent weeks against AB 5, from both companies and individuals—in the courts, at the legislature, and even (potentially) at the ballot box.  These challenges range from attempts to narrow its scope, to proposals to repeal, and even lawsuits seeking to declare it unconstitutional.

This Legal Backgrounder will provide a brief history of AB 5, followed by a summary of the statute’s main provisions.  It will then offer an overview of the various actions that individuals and businesses have taken so far to limit or strike down the law.