Uber and Lyft lose appeal but drivers won’t be called employees just yet

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Uber and Lyft’s battle to continue classifying drivers as independent contractors has been struck another blow.

On Thursday the First Appellate District Court in San Francisco ruled that both Uber and Lyft must classify drivers as employees within 30 days.

Simple, but not actually.

For one, the ruling is on hold for 60 days according to NBC News and it’s likely that Uber and Lyft will appeal the decision in the California Supreme Court.

During that period however Californians will be voting on Proposition 22 which would allow gig economy platforms to be classified as independent contractors.

To that end, drivers in California are currently suing Uber, claiming it is bullying them into supporting Proposition 22. This sort of behaviour is not only underhanded, it’s prohibited in California.

Proposition 22 will be voted on in November and if it passes, Uber and Lyft won’t have to classify their drivers as employees and things carry on as per normal.

But it is becoming increasingly clear that it’s not just drivers who are fed up. San Francisco City attorney, Dennis Herrara had scathing remarks for Uber and Lyft on Thursday.

“This decision makes it abundantly clear that Uber and Lyft have been breaking the law for years. The only thing ‘radical’ and ‘unprecedented’ is the scope of Uber and Lyft’s misconduct. This is a victory for the people of California and for every driver who has been denied fair wages, paid sick days, and other benefits by these companies. For too long Uber and Lyft have illegally denied their drivers basic workplace protections and shifted that burden onto drivers and taxpayers. Uber and Lyft have pocketed millions of dollars by leaving drivers in the lurch and taxpayers to foot the bill. The law is clear: Drivers can continue to have all of the flexibility they currently enjoy while getting the rights they deserve as employees. The only thing preventing that is Uber and Lyft’s greed,” Herrara said.

We now wait to see how the vote on Proposition 22 plays out. Our hope is that Uber and Lyft’s campaigning is seen for what it is, unfair.

As Herrara outlined, these platforms have grown rich from the backs of those doing the legwork and those folks have absolutely no benefits to fall back on.

Should Uber and Lyft be forced to classify drivers as employees, we’d be curious to see whether this would impact the firm globally.

Locally we’ve seen Uber and Bolt drivers protest unfair working conditions. We have to wonder whether Uber and other firms are looking at the situation in California and expecting a flood of governments to take these firms to task.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.


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