Uber and Lyft should treat their drivers in Massachusetts as employees with the right to receive benefits, instead of misclassifying them as independent contractors, the state’s attorney general said in a lawsuit filed against the ride-hailing companies.
The suit, made public on Tuesday, makes Massachusetts the second state after California to challenge how Uber and Lyft classify drivers and could deal another blow to their business model. Maura Healey, the state’s attorney general, mailed in the complaint to Massachusetts Superior Court in Suffolk County.
Uber, Lyft and other so-called gig economy companies have maintained that their drivers are independent contractors who are ineligible for benefits like sick leave, paid time off and unemployment insurance. But the companies are facing increasing pressure to reclassify drivers as employees, who would have greater recourse to push back for better working conditions and pay.
“Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses while denying their drivers basic employee protections and benefits for years,” Ms. Healey said in a statement. “This business model is unfair and exploitative. We are seeking this determination from the court because these drivers have a right to be treated fairly.”
I have little faith that this movement will survive the Trump courts. But you have the battle anyway. Some of this is determined by state law, so there is hope.