Exceptions to the California ABC Employee Test

California has instituted an “ABC Test” to determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. This test has helped many workers reclassify and collect many benefits that they deserve from employers, but not every industry is required to apply this test to its workers. In 2022, an expansion of the ABC Test exceptions is set to go into effect, and it is important to know whether these changes may affect you. If you believe that your rights as a worker have been violated, talk to an experienced California employment law attorney in your area today.

What is the ABC Test?

The “ABC Test” was established by law AB5, which asks a series of questions to determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. All workers are considered employees in California in industries that are required to use the test unless they meet all three of the following criteria: 

  • The worker is independent of the hiring organization in connection with the performance of the work.
  • The worker performs work that is outside the hiring entity’s business.
  • The worker is routinely doing work in an independently established trade, occupation, or business that is the same as the work being requested and performed.

Exceptions to the ABC Test

However, the state did allow certain industries to be exempt from the ABC Test. Workers in these industries may be classified as employees or independent contractors, but the test to determine which classification applies is different. In most cases, workers in these industries typically qualify as independent contractors. Exempt industries and jobs include the following:

  • Medical professionals,
  • Insurance brokers,
  • Lawyers, accountants, and investment advisors,
  • Direct salespeople (with written independent contractor contract),
  • Competition judges,
  • Travel agents,
  • Grant writers,
  • Fine artists,
  • Graphic designers,
  • Freelance writers and others in journalism,
  • Content writers,
  • Barbers, manicurists, estheticians, and cosmetologists,
  • Business-to-business contractors,
  • DJs, caterers, and single-event musicians,
  • Real estate salespeople and brokers,
  • Recording artists, songwriters, record producers, musical engineers, and radio promoters,
  • Workers employed through referral agencies, including photography, tutoring, event planning, minor home repair, home cleaning, errands, furniture assembly, dog walking, pet grooming, web design, pool cleaning, and yard services, and
  • App-based rideshare and delivery drivers

Other jobs that fall within these categories may also be exempt from the ABC Test in California, but that does not mean that a person is automatically an independent contractor if performing these job functions. If you believe that you may still qualify as an employee and are entitled to overtime, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and other benefits it is critical that you speak with a lawyer today.

Talk to an Attorney Now

Determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor can be a complex and nuanced legal determination that requires the skill and experience of a qualified California employment law attorney. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact one in your area today.