Valerie Fausone, Animal Welfare Specialist
Warnings from California, the Harms of Attacking Entrepreneurs
Valerie Fausone is a third-generation Californian who expected to call California her forever home. But her plans changed after the implementation of Assembly Bill 5 *(see definition below). Within one month of the bill’s passage, Valerie’s contract work was terminated. Six months later, she is planning her move to Nevada, forced to leave the community that she has actively contributed to for decades because of a bill that took away her right to work as she saw fit.
Valerie is an animal welfare specialist with over 20 years of experience. She consulted with animal shelters, helping them implement no-kill policies and connecting them directly with members of their communities to increase live releases. Valerie’s skillset served as a win-win: she was able to help shelters, which often lack funds, on an affordable, contract basis, while setting her own rates and schedule. The ability to consult with multiple clients allowed Valerie to help thousands of animals while making a comfortable living. But that all changed with the passage of AB5.
In January, Valerie was notified by the shelters that they were no longer able to pay her or utilize her services as a contractor. The shelters did not have the funds to offer her full-time employment either. But even if they had, Valerie wouldn’t have been interested in accepting a full-time role. For Valerie, the benefit of setting her own rates and schedule, as well as the impact she was able to have on the community by partnering with multiple clients, was greater than full-time employment. In May, Valerie made the decision to relocate her business and her life to Nevada. California, the state she had called home her entire life and had taken away her livelihood—was no longer home.
*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.