The Partnership for Working Families Applauds the California Attorney General’s Efforts to Enforce AB 5

June 25, 2020 -- Partnership for Working Families

Oakland, CA - Today the California Attorney General’s office has taken a decisive step in its lawsuit to stop Uber and Lyft’s continued misclassification of drivers by filing a preliminary injunction against the companies that, if granted, would ensure that their workers would be able to access crucial workplace protections. 

Supported by the City Attorneys of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, this lawsuit was filed to enforce AB 5, California’s landmark worker misclassification law that aims to help more workers access critical workplace protections like overtime pay, sick leave, unemployment insurance and more. 

The suit follows as thousands of brave Uber and Lyft drivers across California are speaking out to demand fair treatment and share their stories of mistreatment at the hands of the companies. This action falls on the heels of similar lawsuits filed in San Francisco against DoorDash and in San Diego against Instacart. 

If the Court grants the injunction, roughly 640,000 workers who drive for Uber and Lyft would finally gain the critical protections to which they are entitled under the law, including minimum wages, workers compensation, health and safety protections, protection against discrimination and harassment, and unemployment insurance.

At a time when these app-based corporations are raising nine-figure investments and minting new billionaires in the midst of an economic calamity, their continued attempts to flout the law and refuse to offer the basic protections afforded to all workers in California are particularly galling. For example, thousands of their drivers continue to fight to claim their state unemployment benefits but the corporations refuse to contribute to the state benefit fund. In addition, workers report that app-based companies have failed to adequately provide personal protective equipment and workers are still on the hook for basic cleaning necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We work with drivers on a daily basis who continue to wait months to access unemployment insurance, because the companies refuse to submit wage data critical to the process,” said Rey Fuentes, Legal Fellow at the Partnership. “All the while these workers struggle to cover their rent, buy groceries, and support their families.

In fact, drivers and worker organizations across the state are mobilizing to defeat the ballot proposition that Uber and Lyft are backing that would deregulate the industry and strip workers of key potections.

It’s going to take all of us coming together to overcome the greedy tactics of these corporations. The Partnership applauds the good work of driver-led organizing campaigns who are working each day to ensure that these companies are held to account. See their joint statement regarding today’s filing HERE.  

Contact: Heather Appel, heather@forworkingfamilies.org; Rey Fuentes, rey@forworkingfamilies.org