As discussed on this blog, California seems to be taking the lead nationwide in responding to companies like Uber and Lyft and their practices in classifying their workers. Initially, the Dynamex decision had the courts taking the lead, but more recently California’s Bill Assembly Bill 5 seeks to end worker classification practices the State disapproves of.
AB 5 looks to be propelling forward in legislature, with Governor Gavin Newsome recently backing the bill, as well as it clearing a fiscal committee in the Senate. While the bill seems to target companies like Uber, it will undoubtedly have a wide-ranging impact across industries, including truck drivers.
However, the companies impacted aren’t ready to give up the fight to maintain their business structures. Uber and Lyft recently put forth a proposal in hopes of stopping the bill, a proposal which would increase driver pay and provide sick leave. The companies, along with others, are also pushing back with aims to put forth a ballot measure to create a new employment category for drivers/couriers in 2020.
With AB 5 moving forward in California, the State could drastically alter the economy not just in California but nationwide, particularly with the push by the companies for a ballot measure to reign in the attempts by California to curb their business practices.
The evolution and ongoing battle come at a fascinating time with more and more people joining the gig economy and more businesses springing up dependent on the gig worker model. It is also important to follow given the massive ramifications for workers in industries not specifically targeted as “gig workers” such as musicians, real estate and insurance agents, writers and reporters, beauticians and barbers, as well as solo professionals like attorneys, architects, and accounts. All could be impacted nearly as much as Uber and its drivers. It is important for employers to a have experienced employment and transportation lawyer on their side to navigate the ongoing changes.