Judge issues injunction against Uber and Lyft, says drivers are employees

Thousands of ride-hail drivers in California have long fought to be classified as employees.

James Martin/CNET

In a blow to Uber and Lyft, a California judge ruled Monday that the ride-hailing companies must start classifying their drivers as employees in the state. This is something the companies have fought for years because it would mean millions of dollars in added costs and a complete overhaul of their business models.

Judge Ethan Schulman of the San Francisco Superior Court said the injunction won’t be enforced for 10 days, so as to give Uber and Lyft a chance to appeal the decision — something both companies said they’ll do.

“We’ll immediately appeal this ruling and continue to fight for [drivers’] independence,” a Lyft spokesman said. An Uber spokesman said, “We plan to file an immediate emergency appeal on behalf of California drivers.” 

The injunction is part of a lawsuit brought against the two companies in May by the state of California. The suit alleges the ride-hailing companies have “exploited hundreds of thousands of California workers” by classifying their drivers as independent contractors rather than employees — thus violating California state law AB 5.  

This is a developing story…

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