A California Court of Appeals ruled Monday that companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., DoorDash Inc. and Lyft Inc. can classify their rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors under Proposition 22.
California voters approved Prop. 22 in November 2020, but a group of drivers and unions filed a lawsuit challenging the law. In 2021, a trial court judge ruled athe law violated the state’s constitution. However, Monday’s Court of Appeals ruling upheld Prop. 22 for the most part, reversing the trial court decision. Monday’s Court of Appeals ruling allows the companies to treat drivers as independent contractors, though it held open the possibility for collective bargaining by drivers.
“Today’s ruling is a historic victory for the nearly 1.4 million drivers who rely on the independence and flexibility of app-based work to earn income and for the integrity of California’s initiative system,” according to a statement by the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services coalition. “The Appeals Court upheld the fundamental policy behind the measure — to protect the independent contractor status of app-based drivers in California while providing drivers with new benefits.”
The Protect App-based Drivers and Services coalition was formerly the Yes on Prop. 22 coalition.
NPR reported work service platform companies spent $200 million on the campaign to get California voters to pass Prop. 22. NPR also noted Monday’s decision may not be final with the possibility of an appeal.
“The right to join together in a union is the most powerful way for workers to challenge gig corporations’ exploitative business model that profits off of paying low wages and silencing its workers,” said Theresa Rutherford, executive board member of SEIU California and President of SEIU 1021.
“Today’s ruling opens the door to the possibility for gig drivers and delivery workers to transform their industry through a strong voice on the job,” Rutherford said. “However, the fact that these workers are still being denied the basic protections most workers have in California is a travesty.”
Prop. 22 came about after the California Legislature passed AB 5, which aimed to make it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors.