Uber is already seeing lawsuits being filed over the status of its drivers. After a landmark bill was passed by Californian legislators targeting to improve the “gig” economy, the dispute on drivers’ status as employees, or independent contractors has started. Uber’s chief legal officer said that the provisions might not necessarily apply to Uber.
Wednesday night saw a class action lawsuit being filed against the ridesharing company in a Californian federal court. Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who brought this suit, has a history of bringing lawsuits against companies using the gig economy including Lyft, Uber, and Grubhub.
Liss-Riordan said that California, through its Supreme Court, and its legislature had made it clear. Workers must be paid fair wages and be treated as employees. Uber can’t avoid the provisions of the law.
Drivers for the ridesharing company as currently classified at independent contractors also referred to as gig workers. This means they don’t get the benefits of regular employment like – social security, health insurance, paid sick leaves, overtime compensation, among many others.
Workers say this system leads to exploitation. The AB5 Bill aims to protect by shifting the gig classification to employee status. Once signed by the Californian governor, it would become a law, which is proposed to go into effect with the New Year 2020.
Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West said during a press conference that it was his belief Uber would not have to reclassify its drivers. Stating provisions under AB5, he said companies must pass a three-part test if they are not to classify their workers as employees. This test is aimed at determining how much control the company has over its workers. West believes Uber will pass this test.
Liss-Riordan remarked that Uber, being a multi-billion-dollar company, could afford to pay its workers properly. West said that Uber wasn’t a stranger to legal battles and the company recognizes the possibility of legal challenges on all fronts.
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