Feb 11, 2020 - Technology

Uber, Postmates lose attempt to halt new California gig worker law

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A federal judge in Los Angeles denied a request by Uber, Postmates and two drivers to halt the enforcement of California's new law that codifies strict requirements for classifying workers as independent contractors.

Why it matters: This is a major blow to the companies and drivers in the case, as they were hoping to pause the application of the law while they sue the state to get it overturned. The law went into effect on Jan. 1.

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Virus spread emphasizes precariousness of gig economy work

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While a growing number of white collar companies are asking employees to work from home, gig economy companies seem to be doing little to protect workers in the face of coronavirus — though pressure is mounting for them to do more.

Why it matters: While engineers and business managers at companies like Uber and Lyft can bring their laptops home and access corporate health resources, the independent contractors who ferry passengers, hot meals and groceries, cannot. This highlights painful differences between corporate "haves" and "have-nots."

Podcast: Coronavirus hits the gig economy

Gig economy companies like Uber are struggling to respond to the coronavirus — not only in terms of safety, but also how their decisions could impact the legal battle over whether drivers should be considered employees.

Go deeper: Virus spread emphasizes precariousness of gig economy work

How Uber, Lyft made traffic worse

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Ride-sharing companies aren't the traffic solution they'd once hoped to be, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: "Multiple studies show that Uber and Lyft have pulled people away from buses, subways and walking, and that the apps add to the overall amount of driving in the U.S.," per the Journal.