San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against DoorDash, alleging the human cloud, on-demand food delivery company engages in unfair business practices by misclassifying its delivery workers as independent contractors instead of employees.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring DoorDash to classify its delivery workers as employees. It also seeks fines of up to $2,500 for each violation, as well as up to $2,500 for each violation against a senior citizen or disabled person.
DoorDash is headquartered in San Francisco.
“Misclassifying workers deprives them of the labor law safeguards to which they are entitled, denying workers minimum wage and overtime pay, unemployment insurance and protection from discrimination, among other things,” Boudin said. “Misclassifying employees also harms the public good in two important ways. First, it puts law-abiding companies in the position of competing against employers who gain unfair savings by illegally classifying their workers. Second, misclassification deprives California of payroll taxes and contributions to unemployment and workers’ compensation funds.”
In a statement to TechCrunch, DoorDash pointed to how it has supported its workers throughout the pandemic by providing them with safety equipment, telemedicine and more.
“Today’s action seeks to disrupt the essential services Dashers provide, stripping hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, parents, retirees and other Californians of valuable work opportunities, depriving local restaurants of desperately needed revenue, and making it more difficult for consumers to receive prepared food, groceries, and other essentials safely and reliably,” Max Rettig, DoorDash’s global head of public policy said in the statement. “We will fight to continue providing Dashers the flexible earning opportunities they say they want in these challenging times.”
The lawsuit follows the passage last year of AB 5, the state’s bill that makes independent contractor classification more difficult. The Protect App-Based Drivers and Services coalition is seeking a ballot measure to overturn the legislation. Backers of the coalition include human cloud firms Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates.
The California Public Utilities Commission recently found drivers should be employees.