California takes lead on laws affecting gig economy, privacy

California will put new laws into effect in the new year involving the gig economy and online privacy.

The laws have sent businesses including Uber, Lyft and Google scrambling, not to mention President Trump.

The state dominated by Democrats has delighted in tweaking the Republican president on immigration and other issues, though legislation requiring Trump to reveal his tax returns backfired when the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled it unconstitutional.

California is making it harder for many industries to treat workers like contractors instead of employees who are entitled to minimum wage and other benefits such as workers compensation.

Alpa Kohli greets her son Saahas Kohli, 14, left, as he returns home from school after a Zum ride share in Saratoga, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The legislature carved out certain exemptions after the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of workers at the delivery company Dynamex in 2018.

The California Trucking Association and two associations representing freelance journalists and photographers have already sued on behalf of their members. The ride-sharing company Uber has said it will defend its current model from legal challenges.


And Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said they’ll spend $30 million to overturn the law at the ballot box in 2020 if they don’t win concessions from lawmakers.

The nation's most sweeping data privacy law takes effect with the new year.

Forty million Californians will shortly obtain sweeping digital privacy rights stronger than any seen before in the U.S., posing a significant challenge to Big Tech and the data economy it helped create. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

The law passed in 2018 requires companies to tell consumers what data they collect about them, why it was collected and who sees it. Consumers can refuse to let companies sell that data, and companies are barred from selling data from children younger than 16 without consent.

Facebook and other technology and internet giants have been heavily criticized for sharing, selling or targeting personal information that customers thought was private.


The San Francisco developer who pushed for the law, Alastair Mactaggart, is now advancing a 2020 ballot measure to protect the law by creating a new state agency to enforce the privacy protections and requiring greater protections for users under age 16 to opt in.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.