A Massachusetts judge on Thursday denied a bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general challenging Uber and Lyft classification of drivers as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to sick time and other costly benefits, Business Insider reported.
The state filed suit against the ride-sharing app providers in July 2020.
“Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses while denying their drivers basic employee protections and benefits for years,” Attorney General Maura Healey said at the time. “This business model is unfair and exploitative. We are seeking this determination from the court because these drivers have a right to be treated fairly.”
Under Massachusetts law, the drivers are employees, she said. The state’s three-part test for independent contractors requires that the worker is free from the company’s direction and control, the services the worker performs are outside the usual course of the company’s business, and the worker is engaged in an independently established business in the same nature as the service performed.
“(T)he allegations in the complaint plausibly suggest that Uber and Lyft misclassify their drivers and, as a result, deprive some drivers of required minimum wages, overtime, and sick leave,” Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger wrote in his March 25 decision.