SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A California judge ordered both Uber and Lyft to treat their California drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, guaranteeing them benefits like any other full-time employee.
Both companies are expecting to fight the ruling.
Uber says it will likely be forced to shut down operations in the state for several months if its required to do this.
Former Uber driver Steve Gregg says he makes more on unemployment than he was able to make working 50+ hours working with Uber.
When coronavirus hit, Gregg stopped driving out of fear amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also saw this as a way out of the company, one that he says was never supportive of its drivers.
“I would rather see them shut down than continue to exploit people,” the former driver said.
The attorney general and city attorneys in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco sued the ride-hailing firms arguing they were violating the law by deeming their drivers to be independent contractors.
Both companies are under pressure to alter their business models in California. While some drivers, though, actually prefer the flexibility of working independently.
“Majority of drivers are part-time, they are doing 10 or 20 hours a week or less so it’s probably not a shocker that a lot of them kind of you know Uber and Lyft have its problems, they have their positive and negatives that have been well documented,” Harry Campbell, founder of The Rideshare Guy, said. “But a lot of drivers are scared about losing that flexibility to log in whenever and wherever you want.”
Lawyers for Uber and Lyft say drivers are not fundamental to the business.
“I want to see people who are working for a living earning a fair wage — not living in fear of not having insurance not living in fear of losing their job,” Gregg said.
Both Uber and Lyft are expected to fight the ruling.