California court rules delivery drivers can sue over treatment as contractors instead of employees

California court rules delivery drivers can sue over treatment as contractors instead of employees
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Food-delivery drivers for companies like Grubhub will seek penalties if their employer fails to treat them as employees prior to a November ballot measure that allowed the companies to classify drivers as independent contractors, a federal appeals court decided Monday. 

The decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will likely apply to other companies like Uber and Lyft, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Both of the ride-share companies spent more than $200 million in an effort to pass Proposition 22, a measure intended to allow ride-share and delivery drivers to retain their status as independent contractors. That proposition was declared unconstitutional in August, the Chronicle reported. 

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Because of California's Private Attorneys General Act, the court's decision on Monday will require companies that violated the employment law to pay drivers at least $100 per week, Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney who represented the Grubhub driver who filed the suit in 2016, told the Chronicle.

Drivers from Uber, Lyft and other ride-share companies also sued to recover benefits they did not receive before November after they were treated as contractors instead of employees in a separate lawsuit, the Chronicle added.

The Grubhub lawsuit began with Raef Lawson who worked as a food-delivery driver for four months and sued Grubhub, accusing it of misclassifying him as an independent contractor and consequently not paying him overtime or reimbursing his expenses like gas or his cellphone, the case said.