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Is Proposition 22 finished in California?

Passing legislation or succeeding with a voter’s referendum does not automatically mean that employment rules change. Judicial review may occur, resulting in a law being declared unconstitutional. Proponents of California’s Proposition 22 received a potential setback after an appeals court judge ruled that the measure violated the state’s constitution. Proposition 22 focused on whether gig workers fall under the category of independent contractors or employees.

Gig economy jobs and employment status

Independent contractors fall under the category of self-employed workers. Controversies exist in California and other states regarding employers misclassifying full-time employees as independent contractors. The California legislature passed a law that addressed misclassification, which led to disagreements among rideshare, food delivery, and other gig economy professionals.

Companies such as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash wanted to keep their workers classified as independent contractors, and so did many workers. These companies spent millions of dollars to promote Proposition 22, a voter initiative intended to establish new statutes and regulations covering many gig economy jobs. The voters passed the law, leading to a change in the rules.

However, a California Superior Court judge deemed Proposition 22 unconstitutional. The ruling noted that the law created impediments to future legislation regarding workers’ compensation and collective bargaining.

The ruling does not necessarily mean the end for Proposition 22 as the Superior Court is not the Supreme Court. An appeal to the California Supreme court is likely, but no one can predict how the court will rule.

The future of Proposition 22

Proposition 22 may or may not survive any future court challenges. If the ruling about Prop 22 being unconstitutional eventually stands, the companies that funded the voter drive might never recover the millions they spent.

Regardless of what happens, employee classification litigation will likely continue in the Golden State. Many employers require workers to serve as employees while ignoring the law that defines someone as an employee.

A worker may be entitled to health benefits, workers’ compensation, overtime, and more as a full-time employee. When misclassified, the worker might lose access to benefits that they otherwise deserve. Misclassification litigation could address blatant violations of California law.