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Court rules California gig worker initiative is unconstitutional

Close-up of vertical sign with logos for ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft.

Smith Collection | Gado | Getty Images

A California judge on Friday ruled that a 2020 ballot measure that exempted ride-share and food delivery drivers from a state labor law is unconstitutional as it infringed on the legislature’s power to set standards at the workplace.

Proposition 22 is unconstitutional as “it limits the power of a future Legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law”, which makes the entire ballot measure “unenforceable”, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch wrote in the ruling.

Gig economy companies including Uber, Lyft, Doordash and Instacart were pushing to keep drivers’ independent contractor status, albeit with additional benefits.

The ballot measure was meant to cement app-based food delivery and ride-hail drivers’ status as independent contractors, not employees.

Known as Proposition 22, it marked the culmination of years of legal and legislative wrangling over a business model that has introduced millions of people to the convenience of ordering food or a ride with the push of a button.

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