California Could Be Throwing a Monkey-Wrench in Wrestling’s “Independent Contractor” Policies

Sep 12, 2019 - by James Walsh

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the California State Senate recently passed Assembly Bill 5 on Tuesday and the State Assembly yesterday and Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it. It will likely go into law on January 1, 2020, and would change the entire concept of employee vs. independent contractor law. This could lead to other states passing it as well.

The bill states that workers have to be labeled as employees instead of independent contractors, if the company tries to control how they perform their job or if their work is part of the company’s daily business. Pro wrestling would likely fit this description and that would mean that WWE and AEW wrestlers would be considered employees of their respective companies if they perform in California.

Labor groups are pushing for a similar law to be passed in New York, a major market for WWE. The Observer notes that WWE and AEW could simply not tour in California if they had to, but if New York and other states do so, it makes things harder for them.

WWE labeling its performers as independent contractors made the news earlier this year when Last Week Tonight with John Oliver spotlighted the company shortly before Wrestlemania.

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