Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules
Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, a California judge ruled on Monday, a key blow to the companies’ efforts to continue to classify their gig workers as independent contractors. California Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman said the companies had failed to comply with the state’s landmark Assembly Bill 5, which was signed into law last year and classified certain categories of gig workers as employees. Schulman ordered the companies to stop referring to drivers as independent contractors and comply with unemployment and wage floor provisions for the workers. The companies argue that they are technology platforms rather than transportation services and that drivers aren’t core to their platforms. Schulman laid into Uber and Lyft’s arguments, issuing an injunction to enforce the law on grounds that “none” of their pleas for delay were “persuasive” and they weren’t likely to prevail at trial. The state’s lawsuit had sought the injunction to allow for enforcement of AB5 against Uber and Lyft, which argued the employment provision did not apply to their companies. Uber and Lyft, he said, “cannot possibly” succeed in arguing drivers aren’t core to their business.