July 10, 2020

Volume X, Number 192

July 10, 2020

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The Attorney General of California Sues Uber and Lyft for Misclassification

Today, the Attorney General of California and the City Attorneys for Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego filed a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft, alleging that the companies willfully misclassify their drivers.  The suit accuses Uber and Lyft of making “the calculated business decision to misclassify their on-demand drivers as independent contractors.”  According to the Plaintiffs, “[t]he time has come for Uber’s and Lyft’s massive, unlawful employee misclassification schemes to end.”

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and penalties against the two companies for allegedly violating California’s unfair competition law and AB-5.  As we have previously reported, both Uber and Lyft have endeavored to modify AB-5 through a ballot initiative, which has received more than enough support to make it on the November ballot—at which point voters will be able to decide whether to create an exception to the ABC Test for certain types of contractor relationships.  Uber also is involved in litigation challenging AB-5 in federal court.

Not entirely unexpected, this new lawsuit makes it more likely that we will see judicial intervention in the battle between gig economy companies and the State of California.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 127


About this Author

Anthony J Oncidi, Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office. Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection....


Philippe (Phil) A. Lebel represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including wage and hour, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, trade secrets, and breach of contract litigation, in both the single-plaintiff and class-action context, at both the trial and appellate level, and before administrative agencies. Phil also represents employers in connection with labor law matters, such as labor arbitrations and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board. Additionally, Phil counsels clients to ensure compliance with federal and state labor and employment laws and assists a variety of companies and financial firms in evaluating labor and employment issues in connection with corporate transactions. Phil also has experience assisting employers with sensitive employee investigations.

Phil has assisted clients with labor and/or employment issues in a wide array of sectors including in the entertainment, financial services, fitness, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, insurance, education, media, high-tech, biotech, manufacturing, transportation, professional services, and staffing industries, among others.

Phil regularly speaks on emerging issues for employers and has been published or quoted in Law360, the Daily JournalBusiness Insurance, and SHRM.org regarding a variety of labor and employment law topics.

Cole Lewis Employment Attorney

Cole Lewis is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department.

Cole graduated from UCLA School of Law, where he worked as a law clerk for Public Counsel of Los Angeles and advocated for benefit recipients in the Department of Public Social Services. He has also previously worked as a summer associate in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University, where he graduated cum laude.