Uber and Lyft are accused of misclassifying their drivers improperly as independent contractors instead of employees.
The Californian cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are suing two of the most prominent American rideshare companies for “thumbing their noses at the California legislature” and mistreating their workers.
The lawsuit against Uber and Lyft was announced on May 5th by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was joined by the attorneys of the three aforementioned cities. Both companies are accused of misclassifying their workers improperly as independent contractors instead of employees. Therefore, workplace protections and worker benefits are basically unavailable to them.
Both Uber and Lyft were ignoring Assembly Bill 5, which regulates companies that hire gig workers in large numbers. The bill, written by the Democrat Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and passed in the fall 2019, was heavily criticized by the Uber and Lyft officials from the beginning. Back then they even committed to investing over $90 million on a ballot measure trying to overrun the Assembly Bill 5.
Mara Elliot, the San Diego City Attorney said that “Uber and Lyft are thumbing their noses at the California legislature.” The Los Angeles City Attorney Mike mentioned that the drivers for both rideshares are essential workers during the COVID-19 outbreak, but they don’t receive employment protection.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra addressed the lawsuit in his Facebook post: “We’re seeking restitution for workers for missing wages and benefits, civil penalties, and to permanently block them from misclassifying workers in the future.”
“Uber and Lyft claim their drivers aren’t engaged in the companies’ core mission and cannot qualify for benefits — and the taxpayers end up having to help carry the load that Uber and Lyft don’t want to accept.”