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Wednesday, 27 May 2020 19:45

In November, Californians Will Decide If App-Based Drivers Should Be Classified as Independent Contractors

Written by Ryan Byrne, The Center Square
In November, Californians Will Decide If App-Based Drivers Should Be Classified as Independent Contractors vaalaa/Shutterstock.com


At the election Nov. 3, Californians will decide a ballot initiative that addresses whether app-based drivers should be classified as independent contractors.

In September 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed AB 5, which established criteria to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor.


Uber, Lyft and Doordash proposed a ballot initiative that would exempt app-based workers from AB 5. The ballot initiative would also adopt labor and wage policies specific to app-based companies, including a net earnings floor, health care subsidies and occupational accident insurance for workers.


Examples of companies that hire app-based drivers include Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates. The ballot measure would not affect how AB 5 is applied to other types of workers.


AB 5 established a three-factor test to decide a worker's status as an independent contractor. The three-factor test requires the worker is free from the hiring company's control and direction in the performance of work; the worker is doing work outside the company's usual course of business; and the worker is engaged in an established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed.


Tony West, chief legal officer for Uber, and John Zimmer, president of Lyft, have both said their companies continue to operate without reclassifying their workers as employees.


California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), along with Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, sued the rideshare companies on May 5, arguing their workers needed to be reclassified as employees.


Uber and Postmates launched their own legal complaint, contending AB 5 violated their constitutional rights and their workers’ constitutional rights.


Courts have not yet decided either case.

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