San Francisco subpoenas Uber, Lyft for driver wage information

Dave Lorenz from Dubuque drives for Uber on Thursday

Dave Lorenz from Dubuque drives for Uber on Thursday

The City Attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, issued a subpoena to Uber and Lyft on Tuesday to figure out whether or not they classify their drivers as employees or contractors.

If the city finds that state standards are not being met, actions by the city or lawsuits challenging the companies' current employment classification of its drivers as independent contractors will "almost certainly follow", according to Curbed San Francisco.

The request comes after a California Supreme Court ruling that set new requirements for companies using independent contractors, including that they provide fair wages and benefits.

Companies that want to classify workers as independent contractors must now prove they are not under their direct control, do not perform a core function of their business and are engaged in an independent business.

The two ride-booking companies are both based in San Francisco and now operate nationally and, in the case of Uber, worldwide. In doing so, it could force companies like Uber and Lyft to provide benefits to drivers who are now considered contractors.

Wildwood mayor strongly defends police after beach incident
The mayor of the beach town, meanwhile, vehemently defended the police and said the woman is no angel. The 20-year-old woman now faces several charges, including aggravated assault on a police officer.

"We don't know whether these ride-hailing companies are breaking the law until they provide the information we seek in these subpoenas", Herrera said in a statement Tuesday.

The subpoenas seek a complete list of drivers who began or ended at least one ride in San Francisco from 2015 onward, as well as documentation on their hours, wages, health care payments, and other benefits they received.

The issue goes beyond just Uber and Lyft, to the heart of the "gig economy" model in which many Silicon Valley companies rely on an independent-contractor workforce to reduce labor costs. "We are not going to tolerate any company shirking its responsibility to pay for benefits and shifting that burden onto taxpayers when drivers without health insurance turn to the emergency room".

Herrera has been investigating Uber and Lyft for about a year.

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