The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, accuses Uber and Lyft of depriving workers of protections, including a minimum wage, overtime, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance, that they would be entitled to as employees.
“Californians who drive for Uber and Lyft lack basic worker protections — from paid sick leave to the right to overtime pay. Uber and Lyft claim their drivers aren’t engaged in the companies’ core mission and cannot qualify for benefits,” said Becerra in a statement. “Sometimes it takes a pandemic to shake us into realizing what that really means and who suffers the consequences.”
The lawsuit seeks restitution for the workers as well as civil penalties that, taken together, could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.
An Uber spokesperson said in a statement the company plans to “contest this action in court, while at the same time pushing to raise the standard of independent work for drivers in California, including with guaranteed minimum earnings and new benefits.”
“At a time when California’s economy is in crisis with four million people out of work, we need to make it easier, not harder, for people to quickly start earning,” the statement said.
A Lyft spokesperon said in a statement to CNN Business that it is “looking forward to working with the Attorney General and mayors across the state to bring all the benefits of California’s innovation economy to as many workers as possible, especially during this time when the creation of good jobs with access to affordable healthcare and other benefits is more important than ever.”