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Los Angeles Law Blog

By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Dancer Rights on Friday, May 28, 2021.
California’s “Gig Economy” Law: What AB-5 Means for Employees

Last year, in what can be seen as a revolutionary victory for gig economy workers in California, the California AB-5, or Assembly Bill 5, was passed. The AB-5 is a state statute that expands on a landmark case from 2018 in the Supreme Court of California (Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court), which replaced California’s common law test, used to determine whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor, with the “ABC test”.


Under the ABC test, a worker is considered an employee instead of an independent contractor unless the hiring entity meets all three of the following conditions:


  • Worker is free from control and direction of hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work;
  • Worker performs work that is outside the usual course of hiring entity’s business;
  • Worker customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as involved in the work performed.


Ultimately, the AB-5, which went into effect January 1, 2020, extended employee classification and protection to the millions of ride-share drivers, who were formerly (and mainly) classified as independent contractors by Uber and Lyft in California. The law, however, has been having major ramifications on other gig-labor-reliant industries as well, and is now advancing the efforts of strip club employees.


Aida Chavez, in an online article published on January 24, 2020, in The Intercept, explains that an L.A.-based group of exotic dancers has leaned on the AB-5 in their attempt to unionize strip club talent around California. This would, Chavez explains, help dancers statewide collectively bargain for more preferential employment contracts and conditions, which was not possible while classified as independent contractors.


The article continues the discussion of the effects of AB-5 on employers, and thus, their newly classified employees. Across the many affected industries, employers have been laying off workers and, specific to the California strip club industry, has seen the likes of Deja Vu – a company that owns and operates strip clubs all over California – shut down four locations.


Labor law violations and the arising disputes are not uncommon in the exotic dancer and entertainment industry. Kristensen LLP has reported on the labor law violations that have occurred and continue to occur, including information on the illegal “house fees” and certain ongoing litigation.


If you or someone you know believes they may have been the victim of a labor law violation in the State of California, read here to see if you qualify. Kristensen LLP has successfully litigated industry-specific cases (read here about one such case), with clients being recognized by the courts as club employees and NOT independent contractors, after which Kristensen LLP has acquired thousands of dollars in judgments for its clients. Call Kristensen LLP today for a free, confidential consultation. Let us fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve!