Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Hears Challenge to Gig Worker Ballot Question

Reuters and Bloomberg Law report that the Masssachusetts Supreme Judicial Court shows signs of being receptive to a challenge to the ballot question that would make gig economy drivers independent contractors. The ballot question is supported by Uber and Lyft and opposed by the AFL-CIO.

The focus of the challenge is that the Massachusetts Constiution requires that a ballot question “contains only subjects … which are related or which are mutually dependent…”

The ballot question says that drivers are independent contractors and not agents of the companies. If they are not agents of the companies, then the companies are not liable if there is an accident. Proponents of allowing the question on the ballot argue that this is the essence of an independent contractor relationship while opponents say that the issue of classification of the drivers might be popular among voters but who is liable in the event of an accident is widely unpopular.

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on May 4, 2022 in Koussa v. Attorney General, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, No. SJC-13237.

See Massachusetts top court questions if gig worker ballot measure can proceed | Reuters and Uber, Lyft-Backed Gig Initiative Meets Wary Massachusetts Court

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