On August 20, 2021, Alameda Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch struck down Proposition 22, the app-based industry initiative that exempted app-based drivers from laws that applied to employees. You can read the full text of the decision here. There were two grounds for the decision:
- The exemption from laws that apply to employees would have taken app-based drivers out of the Workers Compensation Act (which uses the ABC test of AB5 to determine who is an employee). That interferes with the Legislature’s right under California Constitution, article XIV, section 4 “to create, and enforce a complete system of workers’ compensation.” To be valid, the change should have been made by an initiative constitutional amendment. Proposition 22 was only an initiative statute.
- Proposition 22 violated the single subject requirement of California Constitution, article II, section 8. A provision of the initiative that prohibited legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers was unrelated to its common purpose. In the words of Judge Roesch, “A prohibition on legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers does not promote the right to work as an independent contractor, nor does it protect work flexibility, nor does it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers. It appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation.”
The proponents of Proposition 22 said in a written statement that they would file an immediate appeal to the Court of Appeal.