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California initiative classifying app-based drivers as independent contractors ruled unconstitutional

An Alameda Superior Court has ruled that Proposition 22, a California initiative passed in the November, 2020 election, is unconstitutional. Under the initiative, app-based drivers, such as for Uber, Lyft and Door Dash, are classified as independent contractors, not employees. They are not eligible for workers’ compensation in California. Based on the court’s ruling, California app-based drivers would be classified as employees under the “ABC test” prescribed in AB 5.

The court said the initiative is unconstitutional because:

(1) It limits the California Legislature’s ability to enact future legislation concerning the app-based drivers’ workers’ compensation in violation of the California Constitution; and

(2) It violates the single subject rule because it deals with both the drivers’ worker classification and the California Legislature’s ability to legislate concerning the workers’ collective bargaining rights.

Uber and Lyft have said they will appeal this ruling. The ruling will probably be stayed during the appeal process, which could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

At this time, everyone should continue to follow Proposition 22 and watch what happens with appeals of the Alameda Superior Court ruling.

(Hector Castellanos et. al. v. State of California, Superior Court, County of Alameda, August 20, 2021.)

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