The California Supreme Court this week rejected an attempt to overturn Proposition 22, the voter-approved ballot initiative classifying app-based drivers as independent contractors.
A group of drivers and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) filed a petition with the state high court on January 12 seeking to invalidate Proposition 22 as unconstitutional.
California voters passed Proposition 22 in November 2020 by a 59% majority. The ballot measure classified app-based drivers for companies such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and DoorDash as independent contractors and mandated that those companies provide certain benefits, including guaranteeing at least 120% minimum wage during engaged time, payment per mile, health care coverage for those who work a certain number of hours, and the development of anti-harassment policies.
The petitioners presented a myriad of arguments, including that voters were misled by Proposition 22’s title and that the ballot measure withdraws certain mandated employment benefits.
They also argued that the measure impermissibly removes the California Legislature’s authority with regards to establishing a workers’ compensation system, limits the California courts’ power to determine whether legislation constitutes an amendment to a statutory initiative, violates the California Constitution by embracing more than one subject in violation of the “single-subject rule,” and restricts the California Legislature’s ability to enact legislation by majority vote.
The Supreme Court denied the petition on February 3. The case docket provides that Justices Goodwin Liu and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar voted to ask the state to submit a response, but were outnumbered.
The court rejected the petition “without prejudice to refiling in an appropriate court,” so it remains to be seen whether the plaintiffs will now try to file the legal challenge in one of California’s superior courts.