(Reuters) – A Massachusetts judge on Thursday denied an attempt to dismiss a lawsuit from the state Attorney General, challenging Uber and Lyft's classification of drivers as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to sick leave and other costly benefits.
Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Salinger did not rule on whether drivers were misclassified or not, but his decision allows Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to continue his claims against Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. in court.
"(T) he accusations in the complaint probably suggest that Uber and Lyft misclassify their drivers and, as a result, deprive some drivers of the necessary minimum wage, overtime and sick leave," the judge wrote in his decision.
Uber and Lyft deny that their drivers are misclassified and say that the vast majority enjoy the flexibility that comes with on-demand work. Companies claim that flexibility would disappear if they were forced to reclassify drivers as employees.
The companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday's decision.
Ms. Healey in a statement called the decision a "major victory in our ongoing fight to support and protect Uber and Lyft drivers from unfair and exploitative practices."
The trial is the latest in a series of challenges over gamblers' rights, most of which have few legal rights and benefits. It follows a heated battle in California, where voters last year cemented the entrepreneurial status of app-based workers in a poll sponsored by Uber, Lyft and other companies with gig finances.
The Massachusetts lawsuit, filed in July, calls for a court order declaring drivers drivers employed. Catalog