Delivery company DoorDash is facing a lawsuit from the San Francisco district attorney over allegedly illegally classifying its workers as contractors rather than employees.
The charge comes with the accusation that the company failed to help its employees navigate the economic fallout of the pandemic by denying them full benefits and better pay, according to District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a Tweet.
Boudin, in a press release, said that calling employees contractors “deprives them of the labor law safeguards to which they are entitled, denying workers minimum wage and overtime pay, unemployment insurance and protection from discrimination, among other things.”
DoorDash, taking with reporters, has rebuked the accusations by highlighting the work the company has done toward helping its workers. DoorDash Global Head of Public Policy Max Rettig said in a statement that the company had provided safety equipment and telemedicine to its workers.
Rettig said the lawsuit undermines the delivery services DoorDash is seeking to provide for any number of people, including teachers, students, parents, retirees and others, and only hurts California’s restaurants, which need the business right now, too.
Those in “gig economy” jobs like DoorDash or similar companies like Uber and Lyft have been uniquely affected by the coronavirus pandemic due to unemployment laws in most states, which have traditionally required the kinds of hour documentation and solidified work hours that don’t exist for those jobs.
The lack of employment benefits like health care and paid time off also left many of those employees scrambling to continue working even through a highly infectious virus pandemic. In that space, ride-share jobs like Uber and Lyft fell dramatically while grocery delivery services ended up being more needed than usual as people began to stay inside.
The lawsuit also comes after the passage of California’s AB 5 last year, which mandates which workers can and cannot be classified as contractors rather than employees. Gig economy companies like Uber have heavily protested this law and have invested funds into passing a ballot measure that would exempt them from it at the next election.