The lawsuit reflects many of the same arguments that failed to convince the California Supreme Court earlier this year.
Uber drivers and other gig workers have filed a new lawsuit against California’s recently enacted Proposition 22, a referendum-approved law that allows ridesharing companies to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors rather than employees deserving extra benefits.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the lawsuit has been resubmitted to the Alameda County Supreme Court.
A previous attempt to annul Proposition 22 had been annulled by the California Supreme Court, which dismissed plaintiffs’ allegations that the law violated aspects of the state constitution.
Despite the change of jurisdiction, the Los Angeles Times notes that the lawsuit is more or less the same complaint that the Supreme Court dismissed. The class of plaintiffs, which includes the Service Employees International Union, allege that Proposition 22 is against the California Constitution.
In particular, they contend that Proposition 22 effectively prohibits state lawmakers from granting workers the ability to organize; The plaintiffs also allege that the referendum illegally excludes contractors from government employee compensation programs.
Saori Okawa, an Alameda County-based driver, said she and her colleagues are pushing for the challenge because “in a democracy, companies shouldn’t have the final say in making our laws.”
Uber logo; Graphic by Sandeepnewstyle, CC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons, no changes.
“With Prop 22, Uber, Lyft, Doordash and the other giant giants have achieved a law that is against the constitution of our state and puts corporate profits before the safety and fundamental rights of workers,” Okawa said in a press release.
Okawa, the LA Times says, has worked for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart.
It was these companies, among others, that sponsored Proposition 22 and ran a massive election campaign in its favor.
As LegalReader.com previously reported, Uber, Lyft and other digital applications that rely on contractors have poured tens of millions of dollars into Pro-Proposition 22 ads. Uber was even sued for forcing passengers and drivers to scroll through Proposition 22 “Propaganda” almost every time they log into their accounts.
Many drivers, like Okawa, believe that gig companies are deliberately violating government mandates over workers’ rights in order to bolster their own profits and stock values.
“The gig companies are trying to break our democracy just to increase their own profits,” Okawa said in a statement.
However, Uber has insisted that drivers like Okawa are a small minority of their contractors. For example, Uber has claimed that many of its employees enjoy the flexibility and freedom that a contractor brings – they can set their own hours and work as much or as little as they want.
Another Uber driver, Jimmy Strano, told KTLA5 that he believes “special interests” are trying to break the will of voters on Proposition 22.
“Special interests have consistently refused to accept drivers’ overwhelming desire to remain independent because it does not fit their political agenda,” said Strano, suggesting that the recent challenge in the California court will be defeated again.
Gig Drivers Revive Proposition 22 Challenge in California (2)
Lawsuit against Prop 22 in Alameda County after being dismissed by the California Supreme Court
Opponents press lawsuit against Prop. 22 with lawsuit before the lower court