(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

D.A. Boudin announces legal action against company over worker misclassification

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that he and his predecessor, current Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, have jointly filed a lawsuit against a company accused of violating state labor laws.

New York-based Handy provides customers across the country with household services like cleaning and handyman tasks via its website and mobile app.

However, according to the suit, filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, Handy classifies its service providers as independent contractors when, under state law, the workers should be considered as employees.

A California law that went into effect in 2020 as a result of Assembly Bill 5 put forth strict criteria for companies to use to classify its workers as either employees or independent contractors. Although in November, state voters approved allowing companies such as Uber and Lyft to continue to use independent contractors, also known as gig workers, all other companies operating in California are subject to the law.

“Misclassifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees leaves those employees without crucial workplace protections such as access to minimum wage; access to paid leave; disability insurance; and unemployment insurance,” Boudin said.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Stillman said, “Handy has entirely evaded California employment law for this vulnerable group of domestic workers, like the cleaners and like the workers who provide handy services in our homes.”

According to Stillman, Handy uses a system of monetary fines to penalize workers who either show up late or leave a job early, and as independent contractors, the employees have little recourse to dispute the fines.

“Misclassified workers do not get the same access to anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws, and they don’t have protection from harassment and assault in the workplace. And that’s a big issue when we’re talking about the domestic workforce, because these are workers who are out there going to homes by themselves and are very vulnerable to sexual harassment,” Stillman said. “And workers who are not employees do not have robust legal rights to unionize and bargain collectively.”

“Companies that are cutting corners are reaping an unfair advantage and windfall on the backs of vulnerable women of color and really on the backs of all the companies that play by the rules, and taxpayers, who have to suffer and foot the bill when things go wrong,” Boudin said.

Although the suit was filed in San Francisco, Boudin said his office partnered with Gascon’s office for the suit in order to further protect workers in Southern California.

The suit is seeking restitution for Handy workers throughout the state, as well as civil penalties, and changes to the way Handy classifies its workers in California.

Handy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bay Area Newssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police seized ghost guns and other firearm manufacturing items while executing a warrant in February (Courtesy SFPD)
Ghost guns linked to rise in SF shootings as numbers jump

San Francisco police are seizing an increasingly alarming number of untraceable firearms,… Continue reading

Students walk around campus near the Cesar Chavez Student Center at San Francisco State University. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
California’s massive UC and Cal State systems plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

Nina Agrawal, Teresa Watanabe, Colleen Shalby Los Angeles Times The University of… Continue reading

From left, Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Kay Kerr started launched one of the country’s first environmental movements. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Former California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, left, shown here in 2015, has been chosen by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state’s new attorney general. Bonta was confirmed Thursday. State Sen. Ed Hernandez is at right. (Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Rob Bonta is confirmed as California attorney general

Patrick McGreevy Los Angeles Times The state Legislature confirmed Democratic Assemblyman Rob… Continue reading

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101, including Park Presidio Boulevard, to keep traffic flowing as The City reopens. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Most Read