On April 21, 2023 attorneys from Olson Remcho and co-counsel filed an appeal with the California Supreme Court in Castellanos v. State of California on behalf of the SEIU and other plaintiffs. An appeals court ruled in March that Proposition 22 could stand as state law, reversing a 2021 Alameda Superior Court decision that declared Prop 22 unconstitutional.
According to a Sacramento Bee article on the filing of the appeal, Plaintiffs “argue that because the California constitution requires the Legislature to enforce a ‘complete’ workers compensation program, carving out independent contractors violates that constitutional mandate. If the Prop. 22 proponents wanted to change employment benefits law, they would’ve needed to do so through a constitutional amendment, the opponents say.”
In the lower court’s ruling in favor of California app-based drivers, rideshare consumers and labor unions in August 2021, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled that Proposition 22, which exempted companies like Uber, Lyft and Doordash from treating drivers as employees, was unconstitutional. According to Judge Roesch’s ruling, Proposition 22 unconstitutionally “limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.” He concludes his order by stating “A prohibition on legislation authorizing collective bargaining by app-based drivers does not promote the right to work as an independent contractor, nor does it protect work flexibility, nor does it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers. It appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, unionized workforce, which is not a stated goal of the legislation.”