Car Industry

California gig worker law won't affect truckers for now

A federal judge temporarily exempted freelance truckers from the new law.

Perhaps another reason companies focus on commercial vehicles for autonomous driving technology.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, California's controversial Assembly Bill 5 took effect. The legislation makes it far more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors. While two sides have emerged on the debate, truckers against the law can breathe a sigh of relief.

On Tuesday, Federal Judge Roger Benitez ordered a temporary exclusion for freelance truck drivers. It comes as a major win for the California Trucking Association, which argued for an exemption. Judge Benitez will now consider a permanent injunction. 

"The Court finds that Plaintiffs' requested temporary restraining order is warranted," the judge said in his written remarks. He added truckers would suffer harm and declared the ruling was in the public's interest. CTA has also argued the bill clashes with laws surrounding interstate commerce.

Labor advocates championed the bill, and although much of the news surrounded drivers working for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, AB5 reaches even further. Freelance writers and photographers are also now looking for an exemption from the law.

For those in favor, they've argued the law will lead to higher wages, subject employers to labor laws and force companies to deliver benefits such as medical insurance to workers.

A hearing on the permanent injunction for truck drivers will take place on Jan. 13. Meanwhile, Uber and other companies filed a lawsuit this past Monday arguing the California law actually doesn't apply at all.

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