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Court rules that California Uber drivers could not establish "political coercion"

A California court on Wednesday denied an application for a temporary restraining order by the state's Uber Technologies Inc drivers, saying the drivers could not establish the alleged "political coercion" by the ride-hailing company.

Reuters | Sacramento | Updated: 29-10-2020 10:04 IST | Created: 29-10-2020 06:29 IST
Court rules that California Uber drivers could not establish "political coercion"
Image Credit: Twitter (@Reuters)

A California court on Wednesday denied an application for a temporary restraining order by the state's Uber Technologies Inc drivers, saying the drivers could not establish the alleged "political coercion" by the ride-hailing company. The drivers had last week sued Uber over in-app messages regarding an upcoming gig worker ballot measure that the drivers say violates a California law protecting their political rights.

The lawsuit had said that Uber was unlawfully pressuring drivers via the app to support the Nov. 3 company-sponsored ballot measure, known as Proposition 22. Uber had rejected those claims. "The application for a temporary restraining order is denied", Richard Ulmer, judge of Superior Court of California for San Francisco County, said in his order.

The request for "extraordinary injunctive relief" is belated, the judge wrote, adding that the drivers could not establish if anyone was punished by Uber for advocating against Prop 22. Prop 22 would overwrite California law AB5 intended to force Uber, Lyft Inc and other app-based companies to classify workers as employees, entitling them to benefits including minimum wage, overtime pay, health and unemployment insurance.

Uber and Lyft say such changes would force them to reduce their California driver base by more than 75% and prevent the majority of its drivers from enjoying their current flexibility and income opportunities. Both companies have also threatened to leave the state if AB5 was enforced.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates have jointly spent close to $200 million to promote the ballot proposal and Uber has included messages in its driver app to promote it. Last week, a California appeals court unanimously ruled against Uber and Lyft, saying they must reclassify their drivers in the state as employees, with both companies saying they were considering all legal options, including an appeal.


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