California sues Uber and Lyft over driver classification


Angela Lang/CNET

Uber and Lyft are being sued by the state of California, for classifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. The two ride-hailing services owe their drivers paid sick leave, paid family leave, disability insurance, overtime pay, minimum wages, reimbursement for business expenses and compensation for on-the-job injuries, the lawsuit filed May 5 alleges.

“Both companies continue to misclassify their drivers — and have exploited hundreds of thousands of California workers,” the lawsuit, filed in he Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, alleges. “The fact that Uber and Lyft communicate with their drivers by using an app does not suddenly strip drivers of their fundamental rights as employees.”

It comes after Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September and came into effect January, which could reclassify some gig workers as employees. Uber filed a lawsuit against AB 5, alleging it was “irrational and unconstitutional.”

“We’re taking Uber and Lyft to court for allegedly misclassifying hundreds of thousands of drivers, depriving them of worker protections and access to safety net programs,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra tweeted Tuesday.

The case was brought by Becerra as well as the City Attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

Uber and Lyft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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