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Will Uber and Lyft Change California's Labor Market?

The effort to define who is an employee and who is an independent contractor has been an ongoing battle in California, particularly since the Dynamex decision that came down from the California Supreme Court last April. While the full impact of the decision in the courts is still being seen, it is no surprise that the issue is now being taken up by California's legislative branch as well.

Assembly Bill 5, if passed, would require companies like Uber and Lyft to classify and treat their workers as employees, rather than independent contractors. The bill has expectedly been met with concerned parties on both sides voicing their opinions, though some workers surprisingly oppose the bill out of fear they'll lose the ability to control the hours they work.

Between the pending bill and the Dynamex decision, companies like Uber and Lyft are doing all they can to keep their independent contractor model alive in California. This debate, centered around Dynamex, while focused publicly on companies like Uber, could have wide ranging impact on workers in California. As explored on this blog, the truck driving industry is similarly impacted by Dynamex. Any potential changes that may arise from Uber's attempts to limit Dynamex could alter the trucking industry and others as well. Meanwhile. Dynamex is also being challenged by trucking associations as well, something Uber may do well to pay attention to.

It's clear then that while companies like Uber and Lyft will fight for the ability to run their companies as they wish, the outcome of their battle will extend far beyond the companies and their workers. Between the ongoing court decisions, the challenges to Dynamex, Uber's efforts, and the new pending Assembly Bill, the evaluation of who is an independent contractor and who is an employee is an ever-fluid concept that will go a long way in defining the labor market across California.

With a clear focus on these issues at all levels in California, companies operating in the trucking and shipping industry need to a have an experienced employment and transportation lawyer on their side to stay informed on the continuing changes.

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Larson & Gaston, LLP

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