Workers who rely on a gig economy, especially those who drive for the app companies Uber and Lyft, have just won another milestone in their quest to be recognized as full-time employees rather than as independent contractors.
In New York, a judge earlier this week ruled that the state had to pull out his finger and pay unemployment benefits to Uber and Lyft drivers, the New York Times reports.
The judge who heard the case, LaShann DeArcy Hall, said there was “an avoidable and inexcusable delay in paying unemployment insurance.”
[Read: Europe’s most popular EV isn’t a Tesla, Nissan, or VW… what?]
The case, filed in May, alleged that the state of New York delayed driver unemployment benefits and took months to process claims. For other jobs, the process should take a few weeks.
While the case was filed against the state, Uber and Lyft have also reportedly increased the backlog in unemployment benefits by withholding useful driver income data. If the state had this information, it would have been able to process claims much faster.
During the trial, the state attorney said that Uber and Lyft were playing “games,” which prevented government officials from getting their hands on information about driver wins. According to the report, hail companies had fought unemployment decisions only to withdraw their appeal, which prevented a final decision from being made that could serve as a precedent for other drivers.
There were 294 cases in which Uber was identified as an employer and the company appealed to 227 of them. Later, over 200 of the appeals were abandoned. Lyft used a similar tactic, identified as an employer in 78 cases, and then gave up nine of his eleven appeals.
As part of the verdict, government agencies have 45 days to resolve the deficit in benefits and will train a dedicated team to identify and process applications.
It is worth noting that this was just an injunction caused by the need for a quick fix for drivers who can do without vital unemployment benefits. As such, the state has the option to appeal the result, but there is currently no indication that this will be the case.
Phew, hey you!
Would you like to receive the funniest daily tech newsletter in your inbox for FREE every day? Of course: Sign up for Big Spam here.