A California legislation that ensures many gig staff are thought-about unbiased contractors, whereas affording them some restricted advantages, is unconstitutional and unenforceable, a California Superior Court decide dominated Friday night.
The choice just isn’t more likely to instantly have an effect on the brand new legislation and is for certain to face appeals from Uber and different so-called gig financial system firms. It reopened the controversy about whether or not drivers for ride-hailing companies and supply couriers are workers who deserve full advantages, or unbiased contractors who’re liable for their very own companies and advantages.
Last yr’s Proposition 22, a poll initiative backed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and different gig financial system platforms, carved out a 3rd classification for staff, granting gig staff restricted advantages whereas stopping them from being thought-about workers of the tech giants. The initiative was permitted in November with greater than 58 p.c of the vote.
But drivers and the Service Employees International Union filed a lawsuit difficult the constitutionality of the legislation. The group argued that Prop. 22 was unconstitutional as a result of it restricted the State Legislature’s capacity to permit staff to prepare and have entry to staff’ compensation.
The legislation additionally requires a seven-eighths majority for the Legislature to go any amendments to Prop. 22, a supermajority that was considered as all however unattainable to attain.
“The entirety of Proposition 22 is unenforceable,” he wrote, creating fresh legal upheaval in the long battle over the employment rights of gig workers.
“I think the judge made a very sound decision in finding that Prop. 22 is unconstitutional because it had some unusual provisions in it,” said Veena Dubal, a professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law who studies the gig economy and filed a brief in the case supporting the drivers’ position. “It was written in such a comprehensive way to prevent the workers from having access to any rights that the Legislature decided.”
Scott Kronland, a lawyer for the drivers, praised Judge Roesch’s decision. “Our position is that he’s exactly right and that his ruling is going to be upheld on appeal,” Mr. Kronland said.
But the gig economy companies argued that the judge had erred by “ignoring a century’s worth of case law requiring the courts to guard the voters’ right of initiative,” said Geoff Vetter, a spokesman for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition, a group that represents gig platforms.
An Uber spokesman said the ruling ignored the majority of California voters who supported Prop. 22. “We will appeal, and we expect to win,” the spokesman, Noah Edwardsen, said. “Meanwhile, Prop. 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it provides independent workers across the state.”
Uber and other gig economy companies are pursuing similar legislation in Massachusetts. This month, a coalition of companies filed a ballot proposal that could allow voters in the state to decide next year whether gig workers should be considered independent contractors.