Judge says California Uber, Lyft drivers should be employees in 10 days
San Francisco Chronicle
A San Francisco Superior Court judge issued an injunction Monday that would quickly make California Uber and Lyft drivers into employees, using scathing language about the ride-hailing companies’ “prolonged and brazen refusal to copy with California law,” namely AB5, the new gig-work law that makes it harder for companies to claim that workers are independent contractors. Judge Ethan Schulman stayed his injunction for 10 days. The companies, which did not immediately reply to requests for comments, undoubtedly will appeal it and seek to have it stayed for longer. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and three city attorneys had sought to force the ride-hailing companies to immediately reclassify their drivers under AB5. Becerra and the city attorneys of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego sued Uber and Lyft in May, saying they were depriving drivers of the protections and benefits of employment. The injunction takes place even before that case goes to trial. Schulman said there was an “overwhelming likelihood” that Becerra and the city attorneys would prevail on their claim that Lyft and Uber are misclassifying drivers. “Defendants’ contrary arguments lack merit,” he wrote, calling out “glaring inconsistencies” such as the companies saying that AB5 does not apply to them even as Uber filed a suit saying that AB5 had targeted it.