California launches lawsuit to supply extra advantages to ridesharing and gig drivers
The lawsuit challenged Proposition 22, a controversial referendum that allows riders to refuse to offer more benefits to off-the-road contractors.
The California Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of a referendum that allowed riders and delivery drivers to remain independent contractors.
The judges, according to The Associated Press, declined to hear the case, filed by fellow riders in collaboration with several unions.
As LegalReader.com mentioned, California’s proposal 22 was passed in November. It protected companies like Lyft, Uber, and Instacart from a state labor law that would have required app-based services to treat their workers like regular employees.
Companies like Uber have been repeatedly accused of circumventing state laws that tighten the criteria for companies seeking to qualify certain workers as independent contractors.
However, ridesharing companies and their allies argued that their main business was technology – and that their contracted over-the-road drivers were not their main source of income. Uber also claimed that most of its drivers enjoy the freedom offered by contractor-type arrangements where they can choose their hours and work as much or as little as they want.
The AP notes that some drivers celebrated the defeat of the lawsuit.
Lyft driver in San Francisco; Image by Paul Hanaoka via Unsplash.com.
“We’re grateful, but not surprised, that the California Supreme Court rejected this unsubstantiated lawsuit,” said Uber driver Jim Pyatt, a Modesto retiree. “We are confident that this will send a strong signal to special interests to stop trying to undermine the will of the electorate.”
However, proponents of the lawsuit have stated that defeat will not deter them.
“Make no mistake,” said the plaintiff Hector Castellanos. “We are not deterred in our struggle for a livable wage and basic rights. We will consider all available options to protect California workers from attempts by companies like Uber and Lyft to undermine our democracy and assault our rights in order to improve their bottom line. “
According to The Associated Press, Uber, Lyft, and other app-based companies have invested tremendous resources in advocating Proposition 22. Together they spent over $ 200 million on pro proposition ads. In some cases, companies have been accused of forcing passengers and drivers to endure political messages every time they open the relevant smartphone application. For example, Uber added intrusive messages to its app claiming disapproval of Proposition 22 would result in a shortage, expensive service.
The campaign arose from the passage of Bill 5 of the California Assembly, which would have given ridesharing workers health and safety such as minimum wages, overtime pay, health insurance and reimbursement.
While AB5 would have allowed drivers to maintain their independent contractor status, Uber, Lyft, and other companies should have provided enhanced benefits to anyone working more than 25 hours a week on their respective platforms.
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