A California appeals court has upheld Proposition 22, a ballot measure passed in 2020 that classified Uber and Lyft drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. The decision is considered a win for gig companies and lessens the chances that drivers will be considered employees in the state.
Gig companies have long argued that drivers value the flexibility of being independent contractors without set hours from an employer and claim that they would have to give up that freedom if they were made employees. On the other hand, labor activists argue that drivers are exploited and deserve better healthcare and employment benefits, which they could maintain under a traditional employment model.
Proposition 22 gave gig workers limited benefits but exempted them from Assembly Bill 5, a law passed by the California Legislature in 2019 that set a new standard for determining whether workers should be considered employees under the law. Gig-economy companies spent over $200 million to push for Proposition 22.
The court’s decision is not completely in favor of gig companies, as it also upheld certain parts of Assembly Bill 5 that apply to other industries, which means that it is possible for some gig workers to still be considered employees. However, it is still a significant victory for Uber and Lyft, which have been battling lawsuits over the employment status of their drivers for years.
This ruling is likely to have a significant impact on the gig economy and its workers, not just in California but across the United States. The decision sets a precedent for other states to follow and may make it more difficult for drivers to be considered employees in future legal cases.
Despite this victory for gig companies, labor activists are not giving up their fight for better working conditions and employment benefits for gig workers. They argue that Proposition 22 falls short of providing adequate protections for drivers and that they should be considered employees under the law.
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