Judge Rules California’s Prop. 22 Unconstitutional
On August 20, a judge ruled Proposition 22, a 2020 ballot initiative that will allow giant ride-sharing and food delivery companies to classify their drivers and workers as independent contractors, in violation of California’s constitution.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch stated in his ruling that Prop. 22 is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The court finds that Prop. 22’s Section 7541 is unconstitutional because it limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.
This is a major blow to app-based companies that were championing the initiative to classify their drivers and workers as independent contractors.
What is California’s Proposition 22?
California-based Davtyan Law Firm explains that Prop. 22, in layman’s terms, is an initiative that allows companies to define the relationship between their workers and them as independent contractors rather than employees. The law firm explains that Prop. 22 affects rideshare, food delivery, and home cleaning workers who should qualify for benefits such as unemployment insurance if they are classified as independent contractors.
Some argue that Prop. 22 was written by some of the biggest players in the gig economy to benefit themselves and not their workers. By classifying their workers as independent contractors, they will be able to avoid providing benefits such as food and medical insurance or paying California’s minimum wage law.
While Prop. 22 may be subject to appeal, the decision will likely make other states and cities that are attempting to pass similar legislation about gig economy worker classification pause before approving any of them.
Proposition 22 Is Unconstitutional, but What Does This Mean for California Drivers and Workers?
The ruling does not automatically change the status of workers and drivers in California. It also means that a future legislature will have more power to define the relationship between these gig economy companies and the people that they hire.
This also doesn’t mean that a worker’s compensation solution is on the horizon but taken together with the other rulings and proposed legislation, there are indications that the gig economy is facing a shift.
The ruling could also have ramifications for other aspects of California’s Prop. 22, including who qualifies as an independent contractor and the definition of a company that uses these workers.
It is also important to take note that if you are a driver for any of these companies, the ruling does not change your status.
You can always contact an employment lawyer like Davtyan Law Firm if you think that a company is misclassifying its workers as independent contractors and not providing them with their entitlement to benefits as employees. A competent employment attorney will be able to provide you with information and legal advice on how the employment law may apply to you.
What’s Next for California Drivers and Workers?
The truth is that the gig economy market started with businesses hiring workers who had no choice but to blindly accept their terms and conditions to make ends meet. Gig economy companies are growing fast and if these startups don’t have to provide workers with some basic benefits, they can afford to grow even faster.
The gig economy has allowed millions of people around the world to earn money by renting out spare space in their homes or providing services online. It is part of a growing “shared economy” where almost anything can be monetized and you don’t need to own a car or an office space to get into business.
As the gig economy grows, drivers and workers are beginning to challenge the status quo by filing lawsuits against the companies they work for. Davtyan Law Firm argues that if these gig economy companies don’t start playing fair, they will only find themselves on the wrong end of numerous lawsuits.
While a case against one of the biggest gig economy companies may seem like a David versus Goliath contest, Davtyan Law Firm insists that it is more than possible to make progress in this kind of dispute with the help of an experienced employment attorney. If you think that you are not being compensated fairly for your work, or if you feel as though your company is withholding information from you about how it classifies its workers, reach out to Davtyan Law firm for legal help.