Lyft, Inc.’s failure to provide drivers with paid sick leave amid the COVID-19 crisis has forced the workers to either risk their lives and those of passengers, or risk their livelihoods, a proposed class action says.
Filed in the District of Columbia, the 21-page case alleges Lyft has a history of failing to comply with the D.C. Accrued Safe and Sick Leave Act (ASSLA), a 2008 law that requires employers to provide paid sick leave. The suit says that while Lyft has claimed to provide sick leave to drivers amid the pandemic, the ride-hailing company’s policy has been castigated as “illusory” and a “bait and switch” in that it only covers drivers diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency.
“Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, which some experts predict could last for years, the need for paid sick leave is vitally important,” the suit says.
According to the complaint, the ASSLA mandates employers with 100 or more workers provide not less than one hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked. Under the ASSLA, sick leave may be used for absences related to physical or mental illness, preventive medical care, and the care of an ill child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or other family member. Leave can also be used if an employee or member of their family is a victim of stalking, domestic violence or sexual abuse, the lawsuit says.
Lyft drivers are employees in that the company controls nearly every aspect of their day-to-day work experience, the case argues, stressing that those who drive for the defendant are not engaged in an independently established business. By way of example, Lyft can fire a driver for violation of one or more of its contractual rules and bars drivers from hiring employees to assist with driving duties, the lawsuit says. Moreover, Lyft mandates D.C. drivers display the company’s logo in the lower corner of the rear passenger-side window, as well as receive separate approvals to drive in the District of Columbia and nearby Virginia and Maryland, per the complaint.
Further, Lyft drivers are prohibited from setting or affecting in any way the rates of pay for their own services and can have their access to the appshut downfor “myriad reasons,” the suit adds. Despite the level of control over drivers’ work, Lyft has unilaterally determined the workers are independent contractors, according to the complaint.
The plaintiff, who drove for Lyft November 2015 to June 2018, claims she drove while sick on multiple occasions as a result of the defendant’s failure to adhere to the ASSLA. The woman says she would have used paid sick leave had it been provided.
The lawsuit looks to cover those who work or have worked for Lyft in the District of Columbia for at least 90 days between when the company began operating in D.C. and the date of final judgment in the litigation.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.