On July 22, 2019, a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit withdrew its holding that Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court—the landmark California Supreme Court decision that makes it harder for companies to rely on independent contractors—applies retroactively. The panel held instead that the question should be decided by the state’s highest court.

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On July 10, 2019, the California Senate Labor Committee voted in favor of Assembly Bill (AB 5). As we previously reported (see HERE), AB 5 would make it harder for companies to rely on independent contractors because it presumes a worker is an employee unless a hiring entity passes a difficult three-part test. Supporters

We were delighted to hear from Vernā Myers, Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, at our Global Employer Forum in New York last month.

Vernā is a Harvard-trained lawyer, author, TED speaker and diversity advocate. She revolutionizes corporate culture. Her keynote address at the Forum challenged leaders to critically examine their own unconscious biases

The California State Assembly passes a Bill that codifies the infamous “ABC” test for independent contractor determination — will the Senate follow suit, and will the Governor sign the new legislation into law?

The New Bill

On May 29, 2019, by a 55-11 vote, the state Assembly passed AB 5, a bill that would codify the California’s Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court.  
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Last month, we were honored to have Paul Polman, Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, The B Team and Vice-Chair of the U.N. Global Compact and Former CEO of Unilever, speak at our Global Employer Forum 2019 in New York.

Paul makes the very strong point that we need to create an economic system

Hiring Entity:  When are gig workers employees?

Four Government Agencies & Courts:  It depends!

Trying to track the employment status of gig workers will make your head spin. Contractors? Employees? Super heroes?

In the last few weeks, four federal and California state agencies and courts — the US Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the California Labor Commissioner — have all weighed in on the debate. And, the answer is — it depends.

Follow our script below to help make sense of the patchy legal landscape.


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In last Thursday’s Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising, the Ninth Circuit made several impactful findings related to the infamous Dynamex decision:

  1. Aligning with several state court decisions supporting retroactivity, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Dynamex’s ABC test applies retroactively.
  2. It also applied Dynamex to a multi-level franchise structure, expanding the test beyond the independent contractor context.
  3. Last, the Court issued guidance to the district court on remand reaffirming the difficulty of “passing” the ABC test.


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Even as IPOs bloom this spring in the technology sector, there exists well publicized macro-economic uncertainty, stemming from Brexit concerns, among other developments. Real threats to free trade and investment flows remain, with the potential for a much more serious outbreak of protectionism and isolation on a global scale. A recession may or may not be looming, depending on the day and your media outlet.

In these uncertain times, the best counsel know to be prepared for everything, including business change. To successfully manage global business change, in-house counsel must identify potential legal roadblocks, plan ahead and provide a strategic approach. Counsel must be prepared for everything, including some tough decisions:

  • Cost-realignment such as furloughs, compensation reduction or benefit forfeitures;
  • Workforce reductions;
  • Reorganizations; and
  • Transfer relocation and seconding of employees.


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In a global survey by WIRED Consulting, in collaboration with Baker McKenzie, we explore the big picture modern workforce questions above and discuss how companies are balancing these risks with the benefits of the flexible age. As frictionless innovations are likely to continue and deepen in the future, what lessons can be learned from corporate