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Judge Rules In Favor Of Multi-City Lawsuit Against Uber And Lyft Regarding AB 5

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- A federal judge on Monday required ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to classify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors under a new California state law.

City attorneys of Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra had filed a lawsuit against the ridesharing companies, alleging that they violated Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) and misclassified drivers' employment statuses to prevent them from receiving proper compensation and benefits.

San Diego-based Judge Ethan P. Schulman wrote in his ruling that such misclassification blocks workers from "basic rights and protections," including minimum wage, unemployment insurance, paid family leave, workers' compensation and paid sick leave.

"This is a resounding victory for thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers who are working hard -- and, in this pandemic, incurring risk every day -- to provide for their families," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. "Of course, our fight is not over and we will vigorously pursue this litigation until these workers have the permanent protection they deserve."

Both Uber and Lyft said they will appeal the judge's ruling, which is scheduled to take effect in 10 days.

AB 5's author, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego said, "Uber and Lyft have been fighting tooth and nail for years to cheat their drivers out of the basic workplace protections and benefits they have been legally entitled to. They have enriched their executives and their bottom line, while leaving taxpayers on the hook to subsidize the wages and benefits of their drivers.

"Today, the court sided with the People of California. I'm thankful to our Attorney General and city attorneys for demanding justice for the hundreds of thousands of rideshare drivers in California," she said.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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