Warnings from California, the Harms of Attacking Entrepreneurs
Laurie Blunk is a mother, a nurse educator, a registered nurse, and a survivor of Multiple Hereditary Exostosis (MHE).
MHE is a hereditary disorder that has left Laurie with 35 painful tumors covering her body, forcing her to manage chronic pain and adjust her lifestyle. Independent contracting was the perfect fit for Laurie―it allowed her to pursue her passion as a nurse educator, teaching the next generation of nurses, while working manageable shifts and building in breaks when needed. Laurie was compensated well, as she was able to set her own rates, and she flexed her schedule to accommodate her needs. She considered herself privileged to be earning a living while pursuing her passion—until Assembly Bill 5 *(see definition below) was passed.
AB5 took away Laurie’s ability to contract as a nurse educator, and with it, her ability to earn a living while managing her health.
Laurie feels she’s been betrayed by the state—she resents the government’s assumption that she is incapable of making a decision for herself on how to work. AB5 has left Laurie uncertain of what her future holds—how she will earn money, who will hire a disabled woman, how she will be able to manage her pain. One thing is certain for Laurie, however: the solution likely won’t be found in California.
*Assembly Bill (AB) 5 was recently signed into law in California and has had devastating effects on independent contractors and freelancers in the Golden State. AB5 replaces the common law test with the ABC test to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Since the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, hiring entities are now required to classify workers as employees unless they meet all conditions of an ABC test.