#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 23 September 2020
Advertisement

Uber and Lyft have 100,000 drivers in California, and a court says they must be treated as employees

The decision is part of a long-running battle about the classification of driver by the companies.

Uber's headquarters in San Francisco.
Uber's headquarters in San Francisco.
Image: PA Images

A COURT IN California has granted an interim injunction to prevent rideshare apps Uber and Lyft from classifying their drivers as independent contractors and not employees.

The decision is part of a long-running battle about the classification of driver by the companies. California alone has 100,000 drivers across the two companies according to the state’s labour office.

The issue has become more critical during the Covid-19 pandemic, with state authorities claiming that the misclassification of drivers poses a public health risk due to a lack of access to paid sick days and medical care.

Under a California law that came into effect on 1 January, workers are considered employees unless they are free from the company’s control and perform work outside its usual line of business.

The law challenges the business model of the San Francisco-based ride-hailing platforms and others which depend on workers taking on “gigs” as independent contractors.

In May, the state of California launched a lawsuit against the two companies for the alleged misclassification of drivers and yesterday an interim injunction was granted.  

A stay was put on the injunction for 10 days to allow the companies consider an appeal. 

“The court has weighed in and agreed: Uber and Lyft need to put a stop to unlawful misclassification of their drivers while our litigation continues,” California Attorney General Becerra said after the decision. 

While this fight still has a long way to go, we’re pushing ahead to make sure the people of California get the workplace protections they deserve. Our state and workers shouldn’t have to foot the bill when big businesses try to skip out on their responsibilities. We’re going to keep working to make sure Uber and Lyft play by the rules. 

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

California’s lawsuits seek to recover amounts owed to all Uber and Lyft drivers, including nearly 5,000 drivers who have filed claims for owed wages, the Labor Commissioner’s Office said.

Uber has long argued it is merely a platform linking self-employed drivers with riders.

“The vast majority of California drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under state law,” Uber spokesman Davis White said in a previous statement.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2020

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

Read next:

COMMENTS (10)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel