On Tuesday May 5th, 2020, the city of San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and the California Attorney General sued Lyft and Uber for worker misclassification, adding to the legal woes of the rideshare companies headquartered in San Francisco, CA.
The Attorney General released a press release, noting that Uber and Lyft violate California’s Unfair Competition Law, and California Labor Code section 2750.3 (AB 5 2019).
Uber and Lyft have a history of trying to claim their drivers are not employees, claiming this provides them with exemptions from various worker protections as well as claiming they cannot be held liable for the actions of drivers, including sexual harassment and sexual assault during rides.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra:
“American taxpayers end up having to help carry the load that Uber and Lyft don’t want to accept… We intend to make sure that Uber and Lyft play by the rules.”
The rideshare attorneys at Levin Simes represent hundreds of sexual assault survivors holding Uber and Lyft liable for the actions of their drivers. Levin Simes has been nominated to lead counsel for the coordinated Lyft sexual assault cases being coordinated in San Francisco, CA.
The city attorneys who joined in the lawsuit with the state of California had additional words regarding rideshare companies trying to avoid the responsibility of having employees:
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera:
“These companies are headquartered in San Francisco. We are going to police our own to ensure the law is followed… Uber and Lyft claim that properly classifying drivers as employees is incompatible with flexibility. That is a lie. There is no legal reason why Uber and Lyft can’t have a vast pool of employees who decide for themselves when and where they work – exactly as drivers do now. These companies simply don’t want to do it. Uber and Lyft are selling a lie.”
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer:
“Enough is enough. California law makes it clear that Uber and Lyft drivers are employees.”
San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott:
“Uber and Lyft are billion-dollar companies that refuse to follow the rules”
Misclassification is when an employer labels an employee as an independent contractor. This label allows the employer to try and limit any liability that would normally fall on the company for actions of the employee, as well as other legal obligations such as minimum wages and insurance.
Regardless of whether an assault occurred in California or another state, Uber and Lyft are liable for providing the safe rides they have spent years and millions of dollars advertising. Previous rideshare advertising campaigns have even highlighted that women should drink and then order a ride home alone, labeling the services safe.
Our Lyft and Uber sexual assault attorneys work with hundreds of survivors to ensure their drivers are not driving and that companies are held accountable for their lack of action to protect passengers.
The rideshare companies dropped mandatory arbitration, allowing survivors to decide how they wish to proceed.
Last year, Uber released a report showing that 6,000 sexual assaults occurred in 2017-2018 in Uber rides. Uber has not released data for 2019 assaults. Lyft has not released a safety report documenting reported assaults.
If you or a loved one has experienced an assault or harassment in an Uber or Lyft ride, please contact us for a free and private legal consultation. We can help you decide how you wish to proceed, connect you with local resources, and protect your rights. We can be reached at 415-480-7448, firstname.lastname@example.org, or start a chat.
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