A driver has filed a lawsuit against Uber for misrepresenting her relationship with the company as an independent contractor. The lawsuit was filed on the same day legislators in California voted in favor of a bill that would allow Uber drivers to enjoy the benefits of full-time employees.
Assembly Bill five has the support of Governor Gavin Newsome and is set to go into effect January 1, 2020. However, there is a chance the bill will undergo changes before it becomes active.
Angela McRay is the woman at the center of the class-action lawsuit that was filed hours after the bill was approved that would affect the classification of workers in many industries. McRay has been an Uber driver for three years and alleges in her complaint that Uber plans to intentionally ignore the new statute. The complaint goes on to characterize Uber’s defiance of Assembly Bill Five as an intentional violation of the law.
Uber chose not to respond to questions from the media pertaining to the matter on Thursday.
Tony West, chief legal officer, opines that the new law does not cause Uber drivers to be automatically reclassified as employees of the company. He says Uber could take their case to arbitration and ‘pass the harder test.’
According to nytimes.com, the size of the workforce in California has caused the developments with Assembly Bill five to gain national attention. There are hundreds of thousands of contract workers in the state who may now receive worker protections like minimum wage and overtime pay. Some contractors may also be entitled to expense reimbursement and healthcare insurance.
The law is being opposed by ‘gig economy’ companies who depend on independent contractors for survival.
The bill seeks to provide structure to a state Supreme Court decision a year ago that made it more difficult for companies to classify workers as contractors.
Door Dash and Lyft Inc., both rivals of Uber, have each expressed their support of alternate legislation that would improve pay and benefits for workers while maintaining their status as independent contractors.
Uber has also faced problems over worker status with drivers in Massachusetts and agreed to a $20 million settlement in March to end a six-year-old lawsuit filed by drivers in Massachusetts and California who found fault in their classification as contractors and not employees.