A California judge has declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional, making it possible that ride share apps like Uber and Lyft will not be able to use the proposition to shield themselves from liability for classifying their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
In November 2020, Proposition 22 was passed by voters in California as an initiative statute with 58% of the vote. Proposition 22 purports to allow app-based drivers to be classified as independent contractors rather than employees. As independent contractors, drivers are not entitled to certain protections such as minimum wage, overtime pay, tax benefits, and more. Proposition 22 in its entirety can be found here.
In Hector Castellanos, et al. v. California, a group of drivers from companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc., along with the Service Employees International Union, challenged Proposition 22. On August 20, 2021, Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch declared Proposition 22 unconstitutional.
Judge Roesch held that the proposition is unenforceable and unconstitutional because it impedes on the State Legislature’s constitutional power to “create, and enforce, a complete system of workers’ compensation.” Additionally, Judge Roesh held that Section 7465 of Proposition 22, which requires a seven-eighths majority to amend the act and includes specific definitions of an amendment that are irrelevant to Proposition 22’s “theme, purpose or subject,” unconstitutionally limits the right of the Legislature to pass future legislation with a supermajority.
Judge Roesch’s order can be found here. The Protection App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition has said it will appeal the decision.
If you are a gig economy worker and think you may have been misclassified as an independent contractor, please feel free to reach out to Lebe Law.