Uber and Lyft must reclassify drivers as employees, USA court finds

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 24, 2020

"This ruling makes it more urgent than ever for voters to stand with drivers and vote yes on Prop. 22", Lyft spokesperson Julie Wood said.

Meanwhile, Lyft says it's exploring all of its legal options, which may include appealing to the California Supreme Court.

A California appeals court unanimously ruled that both companies must reclassify their drivers as employees in the state. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote on the company's website this week that "According to our research, if Uber instead employed drivers, we would have only 260,000 available full-time roles-and therefore 926,000 drivers would no longer be able to work on Uber going forward". "The only thing preventing that is Uber and Lyft's greed".

The state has argued that by classifying their drivers as contractors, Uber and Lyft deprive those workers of benefits they are entitled to under a law that took effect January 1. It also puts greater pressure on the companies to successfully pass their California ballot measure which seeks to exempt them from the law. The appeals court judges ruled Ubers and Lyfts misclassification irreparably harmed drivers, because they missed out on Employee Benefits as independent contractors.

The companies sponsored Prop 22 in response to state lawmakers' passage of AB5 a year ago, the legislation that aimed to usher in minimum wage and health care requirements for gig workers including gig drivers.

"First the state legislature, then the governor, and now the courts have all agreed that drivers are employees under state law, and Prop. 22 is nothing more than an attempt by multi-billion dollar gig companies to undo that recognition", said Gig Workers Rising, urging Californians to vote against the proposition. "It's important drivers and riders don't get distracted by Uber & Lyft fear-mongering".

The court ruling will not go into effect before a November 3 company-sponsored ballot initiative that will let voters decide the future status of gig workers.

"This is an absurd lawsuit, without merit, filed exclusively for press attention and without regard for the facts, " Uber spokesman Noah Edwardsen said.

Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees, an appellate court ruled yesterday evening. The appeals court still has to transfer jurisdiction of the case back to the lower courts, which may take a few months, and the stay on the injunction will expire 30 days after that.

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