George Gascon
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon. Campaign photo

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón announced Monday that he joined San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin in filing a motion to stop Handy, an on-demand home services company, from classifying its workers as independent contractors.

Gascón and Boudin filed the motion Friday in San Francisco Superior Court as part of a civil suit launched in March that alleges unfair business practices by Handy Technologies, Inc.

The district attorneys say that Californians working for Handy must be treated as employees rather than independent contractors under state law.

“This illegal and shameful practice must end,” Gascón said. “Employees deserve healthcare and workplace safety protections, especially during these precarious pandemic times. Additionally, competing businesses who follow the law deserve an even playing field.”

Gascón said workers treated as independent contractors are left without the right to a minimum wage, access to paid sick leave, family leave, reimbursement for business expenses, disability and unemployment insurance.

Under AB 5, passed in 2019, it is harder for companies to treat California-based workers as independent contractors. However, the major targets of that legislation were Uber and Lyft, and in November of last year, California voters passed Proposition 22, which exempted the ride-hailing companies from reclassifying their drivers as employees.

Uber and Lyft, which reportedly spent $205 million in support of Prop 22, argued that drivers prefer the flexibility of working independently and that hiring drivers on as employees would mean firing hundreds of thousands of drivers to preserve a viable, low-cost ride service.

Handy is a New York-based company that sells household services, including prearranged home cleaning and handyperson labor. It employs approximately 17,500 workers in California, according to Gascón.

The civil suit seeks restitution for Handy workers statewide, a permanent halt to the ongoing illegal misclassification and civil penalties.

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