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A bill is moving in the California Assembly that would make further clarifications and amendments to the law passed in 2019 regarding independent contractors.

When the law was passed last year, some questions were raised by California clubs as to how it would impact show and event judges.  AKC reached out to legislative policy staff and others to receive clarification.

As passed by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, Assembly Bill 1850 includes the following exemption language: “competition judges who have a specialized skillset or expertise and provide services requiring the exercise of discretion and independent judgment to an organization in order to determine competition outcomes.”  This exemption provides the clarity needed for California clubs that host numerous dog shows and performance events which require the services and expertise of independent, qualified judges.

The bill has been forwarded to the full Assembly for consideration.  AKC encourages those who host or participate in shows in California to contact the California Assembly and ask them to support the exemption for competition judges in AB 1850.

In September 2019, California passed AB 5 as a result of the California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (2018) 4 Cal.5th 903 (Dynamex) case, which creates a presumption that a worker who performs services for hire is an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits.  According to the ruling and the new law, a person is to be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(A) The person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.

(B) The person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

(C) The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

This is considered the “ABC test” and AB 5 codified the Court’s decision in the Dynamex case and sought to clarify its application.  Unfortunately, the ruling in Dynamex case and the resulting codification in AB 5 has resulted in a lot of confusion– and there have been no clear answers even from experts as to how this new law is to apply in many different circumstances.

While it was not clear whether the state would apply the law to AKC judges, the amendment offered in AB 1850 will ensure there will not be any confusion on this issue.

The author of AB 1850 has publicly stated she hopes to continue to work on the bill as it goes through the legislature in order to further address any remaining ambiguities and questions with the current law.

What You Can Do:

Those who reside or participate in dog shows and performance events in California are encouraged to contact the State Assembly and let them know that you support the exemption in Assembly Bill 1850 for competition judges.

Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to get the name and contact information for your California Assemblyperson.

You can also contact the bill’s sponsor and let her know that you support the exemption for competition judges:

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales
(916) 319-2080
Email Form

AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor this and all California legislation and provide updates as they are available.  For more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or