Why California has sued ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft

California on Tuesday sued ride-share operators Uber and Lyft for "misclassifying" drivers as contractors instead of employees in violation of a state law.

File photo: The cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego joined California in the complaint.
File photo: The cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego joined California in the complaint.

The suit, joined by the state's large municipalities, seeks to require the companies to compensate drivers and pay penalties that could total in hundreds of millions of dollars.

"California has ground rules with rights and protections for workers and their employers," attorney general Xavier Becerra said in a release.

"We intend to make sure that Uber and Lyft play by the rules."

The suit will test a law that took effect in California this year.

Also Read : Uber, Lyft investors want to hear plans to get riders back in cars

Also check these Vehicles

Find more Cars
Mahindra Xuv300 Turbo Sport (HT Auto photo)
₹10.35 - 12.9 Lakhs***Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
Mercedes-benz Amg E53 Cabriolet (HT Auto photo)
2999 cc | Petrol | Automatic
₹1.3 Cr**Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Maruti Suzuki Ytb (HT Auto photo)
₹7 - 11 Lakhs* *Expected Price
View Details
Maserati Mc20 (HT Auto photo)
₹3.69 Cr***Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
Maruti Suzuki Baleno (HT Auto photo)
1197 cc | Petrol | Manual
₹6.5 - 10 Lakhs***Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
Maruti Suzuki S-presso (HT Auto photo)
₹4.25 - 5.99 Lakhs***Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers

The cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego joined the state in the complaint.

Officials said the classification requirements would not prevent the ride-hailing operators to offer flexible work arrangements to drivers.

"There is no legal reason why Uber and Lyft can't have a vast pool of employees who decide for themselves when and where they work -- exactly as drivers do now," San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a release.

"These companies simply don't want to do it. Uber and Lyft are selling a lie. They are lying to the public and lying to their drivers."

Also Read : Uber budges, a bit, on coronavirus sick pay for California drivers

Ride-hailing giant Uber and delivery company Postmates in December challenged the new law that calls for gig-economy freelancers to be considered employees as unconstitutional.

Referendum, court battle

The legislation, known as Assembly Bill 5, means that -- under certain conditions -- independent contractors are classified as employees to be covered under minimum wage and benefit rules.

This would include drivers for Uber, Lyft, Postmates and other internet platforms that use apps to enable people with cars to provide rides or make deliveries to those willing to pay for such services.

Uber and Lyft have each put aside $30 million dollars to organize a referendum that would overturn the law.

Uber said it would challenge the latest court action.

"At a time when California's economy is in crisis with four million people out of work, we need to make it easier, not harder, for people to quickly start earning," Uber said.

"We will contest this action in court, while at the same time pushing to raise the standard of independent work for drivers in California, including with guaranteed minimum earnings and new benefits."

In its response, Lyft did not address the lawsuit directly but said it plans to work with state and city leaders to help the state's "innovation economy" create good jobs.

A website devoted to the ballot measure argued that app-based food and medicine delivery and ridesharing are providing essential services to people hunkering down at home to avoid the deadly coronavirus.

Drivers have been divided between those who want the same security as employees and those who want the flexibility of being able to choose the hours they work.

First Published Date: 06 May 2020, 09:36 AM IST
Recommended for you
View all
Shopping Bag Shop Now
55% OFF
SOFTSPUN Microfiber Cloth - 4 pcs - 40x40 cms - 340 GSM Grey- Thick Lint & Streak-Free Multipurpose Cloths - Automotive Microfibre Towels for Car Bike Cleaning Polishing Washing & Detailing…
Rs. 269 Rs. 604
19% OFF
Involve Your Senses One Musk Organic Car Perfume, Involve Your Senses Strong Fiber Air Freshener to Freshen'up Your Car - IONE01-40 g,Car Accessories interior car perfumes and fresheners
Rs. 324 Rs. 399
73% OFF
pTron Bullet Pro 36W PD Quick Charger, 3 Port Fast Car Charger Adapter - Compatible with All Smartphones & Tablets (Black)
Rs. 349 Rs. 1,299
9% OFF
ShineXPro Microfiber Car Cleaning Cloth - OG Soft 500 GSM Extra Large (35x75 CM) Microfiber Cloth for Car and Bike - Suede Edging for Scratchless Drying and Detailing (Pack of 2)
Rs. 498 Rs. 549

Please provide your details to get Personalized Offers on

Choose city
+91 | Choose city
Choose city
Choose city
By clicking "View Offers" you Agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy

Dear Name

Please verify your mobile number.

+91 | Choose city