A California judge has declared that Proposition 22, which limits app-based drivers to gig labour, is unconstitutional.
A California appellate court earlier decided in October that Uber and Lyft must consider its drivers employees rather than gig workers, but the following month, voters in the state approved Proposition 22, which exempted the businesses from the state law.
Uber, Lyft and Door Dash had pushed for the law, spending over $200 million campaigning for the initiative, The Verge reported, but labor organizations for the app-based drivers, such as the Service Employees International Union, opposed it.
Uber drivers lost a lawsuit in October saying that the corporation violated their rights by bombarding them with Proposition 22 advertisements ahead of the November election.
According to California Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch, the new law “is unconstitutional because it limits the power of a future legislature to designate app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.”
Roesch added that the law, which also applies to other app-based delivery drivers such as Door Dash, along with rideshare Uber and Lyft, is therefore unenforceable.
The requirement for a seventh-eights majority vote for the legislature to pass any amendments was unconstitutional, Roesch also said, but it could be amended instead by a simple majority vote.
“We believe the judge made a serious error by ignoring a century’s worth of case law requiring the courts to guard the voters’ right of initiative,” Geoff Vetter, a spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Coalition, said in a statement Friday. “We will file an immediate appeal and are confident the appellate court will uphold Prop 22.”
Meanwhile, Scott Kronland, a lawyer for the drivers, told The New York Times that the judge’s decision was “absolutely right,” and that it would “be sustained on appeal.”
After the British Supreme Court determined that Uber drivers were functionally employees rather than independent contractors earlier this year, Uber agreed to pay all British drivers a minimum wage and some benefits.