App-based ride hailing and delivery companies like Uber and Lyft can continue to treat their California drivers as independent contractors, a state appeals court ruled Monday, allowing the tech giants to bypass other state laws requiring worker protections and benefits, Adam Beam reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The ruling mostly upholds a voter-approved law, called Proposition 22, that said drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft are independent contractors and are not entitled to benefits like paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.
The ruling mostly upholds a voter-approved law, called Proposition 22, that said drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft are independent contractors and are not entitled to benefits like paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.
A lower court ruling in 2021 had said Proposition 22 was illegal, but Monday’s ruling reversed that decision.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for app-based workers and the millions of Californians who voted for Prop 22,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer. ”We’re pleased that the court respected the will of the people.”
The ruling is a defeat for labor unions and their allies in the state Legislature who passed a law in 2019 requiring companies like Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers as employees.
“Today the Appeals Court chose to stand with powerful corporations over working people, allowing companies to buy their way out of our state’s labor laws and undermine our state constitution,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, leader of the California Labor Federation and a former state assemblywoman who authored the 2019 law.
“Our system is broken. It would be an understatement to say we are disappointed by this decision.”
The ruling wasn’t a complete defeat for labor unions, as the court ruled the companies could not stop their drivers from joining a labor union and collectively bargain for better working conditions, said Mike Robinson, one of the drivers who filed the lawsuit challenging Proposition 22.