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US Court Rules California Gig Worker Exemption Is Unconstitutional

 |  August 22, 2021

A 2020 ballot measure that exempted ride-share and food delivery drivers from a state labor law is unconstitutional, a California judge ruled on Friday, August 20, as it infringes on the legislature’s power to set workplace standards.

The ballot measure aimed to cement app-based food delivery and ride-hail drivers’ status as independent contractors, not employees.

Gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and Instacart were pushing to keep drivers’ independent contractor status, albeit with additional benefits.

However, in a ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch wrote that the measure, known as Proposition 22, was unconstitutional.

“It limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law,” making the entire measure unenforceable, the judge wrote.

Related: CA Passes Prop 22, Exempting Uber & Lyft From Classifying Workers As Employees

The measure was the culmination of years of legal and legislative wrangling over a business model that has given millions of people the convenience of ordering food or a ride with the push of a button.

“We will file an immediate appeal and are confident the Appellate Court will uphold Prop 22,” a group supporting the measure, the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Coalition, said in a statement.

Gig economy companies scored a decisive win in California in November, when voters of the Democratic-leaning state supported the company-sponsored Prop 22, overwriting a state law that would have made them employees.

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