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Photo: Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

California's Labor Commission has filed lawsuits against Uber and Lyft, accusing them of "committing wage theft by misclassifying employees as independent contractors." The suit will replace individual claims that drivers have filed.

Why it matters: This is the latest move by California officials seeking to force the companies to reclassify their drivers from independent contractors to employees following a new law that went into effect in January.

  • Meanwhile, a court hearing is scheduled for Thursday regarding the state attorney general's request for an injunction to force the companies to comply. Three city attorneys are also participating in this lawsuit.
  • San Francisco's district attorney has separately sued delivery company DoorDash on similar grounds.
  • The three companies and others are also behind a measure on November's ballot that would keep drivers as contractors, along with some new benefits.

From Lyft:

The state labor agency has botched thousands of claims. They know they don't have the ability to process these claims, so they sent them into a legal abyss, where they know it will take years to resolve them.
— Lyft spokesperson

From Uber:

The vast majority of California drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under state law. When 3 million Californians are without a job, our leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry.
— Uber spokesperson

Editor's note: The story has been updated with a statement from Uber.

Go deeper

Lyft touts California ballot victory amid mixed Q3 results

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Lyft posted a much larger loss than analysts expected, though it beat revenue estimates, in its third quarter results reported Tuesday. But on a call with analysts, the company pointed to its recent legislative victory in California and the potential it sees in expanding its foray into delivery as signs of better times ahead.

Why it matters A week ago, Lyft and other gig companies got California voters to back a ballot proposal that cements their drivers' status as independent contractors, which is central to the companies' business models.

Philanthropy Deep Dive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A look at how philanthropy is evolving (and why Dolly Parton deserves a Medal of Freedom).

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
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  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.