Boudin had already sued DoorDash in June over classifying drivers as contractors, now he wants a court order demanding that they hire their drivers as employees before the October trial.
Of all the redundant and indistinguishable food delivery apps, DoorDash stands out for its bright red bags and branding, and its brazen 30 percent delivery fee charge after Mayor Breed had capped that fee at 15 percent. DoorDash is also unique in the sense that they are being sued by SF district attorney Chesa Boudin, as the Chronicle reported in June, for continuing to classify its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, in violation of the state’s new-ish gig worker law AB-5.
That case is currently scheduled to go to trial on October 5, but the DA wants DoorDash to dash up its compliance immediately. KPIX reports that Boudin asked the judge for an injunction Wednesday so DoorDash has to hire the drivers as employees with minimum wage guarantees and benefits. That injunction could take effect immediately, should the judge rule in Boudin’s favor.
“We are seeking an immediate end to DoorDash’s illegal behavior of failing to provide delivery workers with basic workplace protections,” Boudin said in a statement to the Chronicle. “All three branches of California’s government have already made clear that these workers are employees under California law and entitled to these important safeguards. The failure to provide these workers basic protections puts them at risk, particularly during the COVID pandemic.”
Unsurprisingly, DoorDash is crying poor on supposed behalf of its low-paid contractors and the restaurants it is gouging, as you'd expect from a tech company that’s valued at $16 billion but is losing $450 million a year.
“In the midst of one of the deepest economic recessions in our nation’s history, today’s action by the District Attorney threatens billions of dollars in earnings for California Dashers [their term for their drivers] and revenue for restaurants that rely upon sales from delivery to keep their businesses open,” DoorDash said in a statement to KPIX.
This is not the same lawsuit as the state lawsuit that Uber and Lyft lost this week, but it’s being filed for the exact same contractor classification reasons. (And like Uber, Lyft just declared it would halt operations in California if it is not granted its desired stays and appeals).
But as the Chronicle noted in June when Boudin filed his lawsuit, the suit is “the first of its kind brought against a gig company by a local district attorney” rather than a state attorney general. More tellingly, Mission Local mentioned in June that Boudin’s Economic Crimes Against Workers Unit is headed by assistant district attorney Scott Stillman, and Boudin said at a press conference that “I did not bring ADA Stillman into the office to file one lawsuit.” In other words, Boudin is going to sue more delivery apps, more delivery apps will threaten to shut down if they have to hire their drivers as employees, and this process will rinse, lather, and repeat up until California Prop. 22 hopefully settles this on election day.
Image: DoorDash blog