For those in our state, the Gig Worker Law (Proposition 22) passed recently has been all over the news, and recently, it was found unconstitutional. Essentially, that law classified those that drive for gig work employers, like Lyft, Uber, etc. to be classified as independent contractors.
Recent court decision
Last Friday, a California judge (Judge Frank Roesch of California Superior Court in Alameda County) ruled that the law violated the state’s constitution. The judge found that, while the law carved out gig workers from the state’s workers’ compensation laws, only the legislature has that right, and the law limited future legislations from defining who qualified, which is not constitutional.
Second, the law impermissibly hamstringed future legislatures from making any significant changes to Proposition 22, which is also impermissible. For example, it required a seven-eights majority to make changes (i.e., a supermajority).
Finally, the judge found the prohibition against unionization was against California’s constitution, which also required the supermajority to change. This was a setback for the gig companies, but a boon for drivers and labor organizers as this means those workers may qualify as employees, which would entitle them to health benefits, workers’ compensation, minimum wages, etc.
What happens next?
Likely, more litigation. There will likely be an appeal, but those will likely take several months, even if an expedited appeal is approved. In the interim, this means that gig employers may have to begin paying into the state’s workers’ compensation funds, even though the companies have said they will refuse to change anything until all appeals are exhausted, including how they classify their San Diego and Californian drivers.