California Says Gig-Worker Law Doesn’t Target Uber, Postmates

California hit back at Uber Technologies Inc.’s and Postmates Inc.’s challenge to a newly enacted labor rights law meant to ensure gig workers receive employment protections.

The state said in filing Friday in federal court in Los Angeles that the law, AB 5, doesn’t target app-based companies and doesn’t violate their constitutional rights, as the companies claim.

“At heart, plaintiffs question the wisdom and effectiveness of AB 5, but that is a legislative policy determination, not viable grounds for a constitutional challenge,” California said in its opposition to the companies’ request for a court order to halt implementation of the law until its legality has been resolved.

The law went into effect this month and has set in motion a bitter dispute about the rights of Uber drivers, food couriers and other people who derive their income from apps made in Silicon Valley working as independent contractors. Uber and Postmates claim it’s arbitrary that direct salespeople, travel agents, grant writers, construction truck drivers, commercial fishermen and others are exempted from the law.

The case is Olson v. California, 19-cv-10956, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

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