Marty Mattes Comments on Impact of PUC Scoping Memo on App-Based Transportation and Delivery Companies

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Marty Mattes was quoted in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article “Uber and Lyft Want Voters, Not Regulators, to Determine Drivers’ Status.” The article looks at the impact of Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma, of California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC), asserting in a scoping memo that drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies "are presumed to be employees" and therefore must be covered by workers' compensation insurance.

A number of companies--such as DoorDash, Instacart and Uber--disagreed with this opinion and fired back at the PUC, claiming it “lacked the authority to determine the employment status of their drivers” and asserting that the decision should be left to the legal system. Companies affected by this are also asking California voters to support Proposition 22 in November, which would classify their drivers as independent contractors.

Commenting on the current uncertainty regarding how drivers will ultimately be classed, Marty said, "It's kind of a fuzzy situation as contrasted to a lot of employer-employee situations. The PUC will need several months to consider, discuss and draft a response to the motion by Uber and Lyft's lawyers, which means the commission is unlikely to act before the election.” He added, “The ride-hailing companies' goal in contesting Shiroma's memo may be to delay any PUC action until after the election.”

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