Like wreckage following a tornado, California’s effort to eliminate gig work trailed Julie Su as she failed upward from the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency secretary to Washington, where she’s the acting labor secretary.
In her previous capacity, Su was a hardline supporter of California’s Assembly Bill 5, which outlaws a wide variety of independent contracting jobs. As a federal official, she’s been assigned the task of spreading the pain across the rest of the country.
AB 5 is not perfectly mirrored in the federal PRO Act. But there are similarities. The California legislation is a worker-classification law. Its purported objective was to ensure that workers are properly categorized, using the “ABC test” to determine their employment status. If workers are to qualify as independent contractors, they must be (A) “free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work”; (B) perform work “outside the usual course of the company’s business”; and be (C) “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.”