Uber Inc and on-demand meal delivery service Postmates Inc took legal action on Monday to block a broad new California law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to people who are independent contractors.
The lawsuit submitted in U.S. court in Los Angeles argues that the regulation set to take effect Wednesday breaches federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
Uber stated it will attempt to connect the lawsuit to another legal challenge submitted in mid-December by associations representing freelance writers and photographers.
The California Trucking Association submitted the first challenge to the law in November, representing independent truckers.
The law creates the country’s strictest test by which workers must be considered employees and it could set a model for other states to follow.
The recent challenge consists of two independent workers who wrote regarding their concerns with the new law.
“This has thrown my life and the lives of more than a hundred=thousand drivers into uncertainty,” ride-share driver Lydia Olson wrote in a Facebook post mentioned by Uber.
Miguel Perez, a Postmates driver, called on-demand work “a blessing” in a letter distributed by Uber. He stated he used to drive a truck for 14 hours at a time, generally overnight.
“Sometimes, when I was behind the wheel, with an endless shift stretching out ahead of me like the open road, I daydreamed about a different kind of job — a job where I could choose when, where and how much I worked and still make enough money to feed my family,” Perez wrote.
The lawsuit challenges the law that it exempts some industries but consists of ride-share and delivery companies without a rational basis for distinguishing between them. It accuses the law of infringing on workers’ rights to select how they make a living and could void their present contracts.
Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego countered that she wrote the law to expand rights of employees to over a million California workers who lack advantages, consisting of a minimum wage, mileage reimbursements, paid sick leave, medical coverage and disability pay for on-the-job injuries.
She noted that Uber had earlier sought an exemption when lawmakers were creating the law, then stated it would defend its present labor model from legal battles. It joined Lyft and DoorDash in a pledge to each spend $30 million to overturn the law at the ballot box in 2020 if they don’t win concessions from lawmakers in 2020.
“The one clear thing we know about Uber is they will do anything to attempt to exempt themselves from state regulations that make us all safer and their driver employees self-sufficient,” Gonzalez stated. “In the meantime, Uber chief executives will continue to become billionaires while too many of their drivers are forced to sleep in their vehicles.”
The new law was a response to a legal ruling in 2018 by the California Supreme Court concerning workers at the delivery company Dynamex.