In a move that local political leaders and labor rights advocates celebrated as a major win for gig workers, a California judge ruled Monday that the ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber must classify drivers in the state as employees rather than independent contractors to comply with state law.
“The years-long ploy of these behemoth corporations to stall, obfuscate, and flat-out break the law has failed. There must be no more delays.”
—Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman’s decision came in a case filed gainst Lyft and Uber in May by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, who accused the companies of violating Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last year.
“The court has weighed in and agreed: Uber and Lyft need to put a stop to unlawful misclassification of their drivers while our litigation continues,” Becerra said in a statement responding to Schulman’s preliminary injunction, which is stayed for 10 days to allow for legal appeals.
“While this fight still has a long way to go, we’re pushing ahead to make sure the people of California get the workplace protections they deserve,” Becerra added. “Our state and workers shouldn’t have to foot the bill when big businesses try to skip out on their responsibilities. We’re going to keep working to make sure Uber and Lyft play by the rules.”