San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Wednesday that he has asked San Francisco Superior Court to order food delivery app DoorDash to immediately classify its workers as employees instead of independent contractors.
The move comes after San Francisco Judge Ethan Schulman ordered Uber and Lyft in a separate lawsuit on Monday to classify their drivers as employees.
Delivery and ride hailing companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have faced several lawsuits since Assembly Bill 5 took effect in January. The law requires companies apply specific criteria to determine whether their workers are employees or independent contractors. If the workers meet the criteria for employees, the company must pay minimum wage and overtime, provide paid sick leave as required by law, pay for unemployment insurance and meet other requirements.
The motion Boudin filed on Wednesday for a preliminary injunction is part of a lawsuit he filed in June claiming DoorDash flouts labor laws – and seeking restitution for workers in the form of a requirement that DoorDash classify its drivers as employees.
Boudin said in a statement:
“We are seeking an immediate end to DoorDash’s illegal behavior of failing to provide delivery workers with basic workplace protections. All three branches of California’s government have already made clear that these workers are employees under California law and entitled to these important safeguards. The failure to provide these workers basic protections puts them at risk, particularly during the COVID pandemic.”
Boudin has alleged that misclassifying workers enables DoorDash to avoid paying for unemployment insurance. He highlighted an estimate by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement that $7 billion per year in lost payroll tax revenue as a result of companies misclassifying workers.
DoorDash has said it’s committed to continuing to advocate for its gig work model, citing the opportunity it provides to thousands of drivers, which it calls Dashers, seeking extra income and flexible hours without making a commitment.
DoorDash said in a statement:
“In the midst of one of the deepest economic recessions in our nation’s history, today’s action by the district attorney threatens billions of dollars in earnings for California Dashers and revenue for restaurants that rely upon sales from delivery to keep their businesses open.”
DoorDash supports state Proposition 22. That measure on November’s ballot would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from treating their drivers as employees.