Uber drivers say the company unlawfully pressured them to support a ballot initiative that would make gig workers independent contractors, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court by a proposed class of California drivers. Bloomberg Law reports: The suit alleges Uber used a coercive campaign of misinformation to exert pressure on drivers to advocate and vote for the passage of Proposition 22, which would overturn a California law that makes it difficult for the gig companies to be classified as contractors. If the workers were classified as employees, they would be entitled to overtime, minimum wage and other benefits. According to the complaint Uber, Lyft and other gig economy giants invested nearly $200 million into the campaign “Yes on 22.”
The drivers in the lawsuit say they were faced with a “barrage of misinformation” about the ballot initiative through pop-ups on the Uber app, which made misleading representations about driver benefits under Proposition 22 including regarding accident insurance, earnings guarantees, scheduling, and anti-discrimination protections. One such pop-up only provides the opportunity for drivers to select “Yes on Prop. 22” or “OK,” to exit, which pressures drivers to accept Uber’s political stance, the complaint alleges. The proposed class action claims the company is attempting to direct the political activities of its California drivers with respect to Proposition 22, and threatening their discharge to coerce them to follow a particular political course of action, in direct violation of state law.
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