In a win for those forced to navigate the rideshare gig economy, a California judge has ruled that Uber and Lyft must treat drivers as employees, not independent contractors.
The judge said Uber and Lyft have refused to comply with a California law passed last year that was supposed to make it harder for companies in the state to hire workers as contractors, so gig economy workers such as drivers for the ride-hailing companies would receive health insurance, workers' compensation and paid sick and family leave. As independent contractors, Uber and Lyft drivers are not provided these benefits.
"It bears emphasis that these harms are not mere abstractions; they represent real harms to real working people," wrote Schulman, adding: "To state the obvious, drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft's entire ride-hailing business."
Even before the pandemic, the outlook for drivers was not rosy. Now they are on the front lines of high-risk interactions with random passengers.