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San Francisco City Attorney investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits

Staff Writer |
City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued subpoenas to Uber and Lyft to turn over records on whether they classify drivers as employees or private contractors, as well as records on driver pay and benefits.

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The subpoenas follow the California Supreme Court's recent ruling on the definition of an employee versus an independent contractor.

These subpoenas are the latest component of Herrera's investigation into whether ride-hailing companies comply with San Francisco ordinances.

In light of the California Supreme Court's decision that companies must affirmatively prove a worker is an "independent contractor" before denying that person the wages and benefits guaranteed to California employees, Herrera seeks proof that Uber and Lyft have lawfully classified drivers as independent contractors or provide their drivers with minimum wage, sick leave, health care contributions and paid parental leave.

"San Francisco's laws help ensure that employers provide a fair day's wage for a fair day's work," Herrera said.

"Our laws also guarantee employees basic humane benefits like sick leave, health care, and paid parental leave. We are not going to turn a blind eye if companies in San Francisco deny workers their pay and benefits.

"We are not going to tolerate any company shirking its responsibility to pay for benefits and shifting that burden onto taxpayers when drivers without health insurance turn to the emergency room. If your company is valued at $62 billion, you can afford to give your workers health care."

Uber and Lyft, whose core business is driving passengers from one place to another, have traditionally designated their drivers as independent contractors.

On April 30, the California Supreme Court ruled that companies must classify their workers as employees, unless the company can prove a specific worker: (a) works outside the company's control and direction; (b) does work outside the usual course of the company's business; and (c) has an independent trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work she or he does for the company.


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