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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A group of Uber drivers, along with nonprofits Worksafe and the Chinese Progressive Association, have sued the ride-hailing company, arguing that in-app messages promoting a California ballot measure that would enshrine their status as independent contractors violate drivers' right to be free of political influence from their employer.

Why it matters: Uber and other gig-economy companies have poured nearly $200 million into the campaign, as classifying their workers as independent contractors instead of employees is central to their business models.

What they're saying: The drivers behind the suit "fear that if they do not cooperate by speaking out in favor of Prop 22 through the video messages, texts, and positive survey answers solicited by Uber, Uber will retaliate by giving them less favorable or less plentiful assignments, or no assignments at all," law firm Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, representing the drivers, says in a press release.

The other side: "This is an absurd lawsuit, without merit, filed solely for press attention and without regard for the facts," an Uber spokesperson says in a statement. "[T]he vast majority of drivers support Prop 22 and have for months because they know it will improve their lives and protect the way they prefer to work."

Editor's note: The story have been updated to note that two nonprofits are also plaintiffs in the case.

Go deeper

California fines Uber $59 million over sexual assault data

Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images

A judge ordered Uber on Monday to pay a $59 million fine to California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and threatened to suspend its state permit to operate if the firm fails to do so within 30 days.

The big picture: The judge found the ride-hailing giant had failed to share data with the regulator following Uber's safety report last year, which revealed that U.S. users reported nearly 6,000 incidents of sexual assault and harassment on trips made in 2017 and 2018.

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally-funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.