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No, Uber and Lyft aren’t shutting down in California just yet

They've been handed yet another reprieve, will continue operating as normal

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Just as the Uber and Lyft “blackout” was about to begin in California, the ride-hailing companies have been handed a reprieve by an appeals court.

Last night, the ride-hailing companies were going to suspend their services in response to a recent court ruling that required them to recognize their drivers as employees, The New York Times reports.

Despite the injunction, the reprieve allows the companies to continue operating until yet another decision is made, later this year. Further hearings will be held in October.

[Read: Google admits its Android Auto assistant is a little, umm, slow]

There seems to be general routine in this case: a court tells Uber and Lyft to classify drivers as employees, they appeal, they continue operating as normal, the case escalates, they appeal, they continue working as usual. The latest injunction appeared to be the most effective, but with the recent remission it seems business as usual — again — for the ride-hailing companies, for now.

However, this time, the companies have been asked to provide details on how they plan to employ their drivers should they lose their appeal. These plans must be submitted by early September.

“These companies may have bought themselves a little more time, but the price is that they have to demonstrate — under oath — that they have an implementation plan that complies with the law,” said John Cote, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney.

On the whole, it looks like Uber and Lyft have indeed bought themselves some time. During November’s general election, Californian voters will also be able to have their say in deciding the fate of the two companies, when they get to vote on whether drivers should be employees or continue as independent contractors.

As we’ve said before here on SHIFT, this is just the beginning. Uber and Lyft are facing similar battles in other jurisdictions which will no doubt heed the outcome of the Californian ruling, which may end up setting a precedent of sorts.

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Published August 21, 2020 — 07:43 UTC