BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is suing ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft for “misclassifying” their drivers. Healey made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday morning.

“For years, Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses on a model that exploits drivers,” Healey said.

She said that by labeling drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, they don’t have to provide minimum wage, overtime or paid sick leave.

“They’ve been playing this game for years and not only is it unfair and exploitative – it’s illegal,” Healey said.

Healey said her office has been receiving complaints from drivers for years. She’s asking anyone who has driven for either company to fill out an online complaint form.

Uber said in a statement to WBZ-TV that reclassifying drivers could make it tougher for them to earn money.

“At a time when Massachusetts’ economy is in crisis with a record 16% unemployment rate, we need to make it easier, not harder, for people to quickly start earning an income. We will contest this action in court, as it flies in the face of what the vast majority of drivers want: to work independently,” Uber said in a statement. “We stand ready to work with the state to modernize our laws, so that independent workers receive new protections while maintaining the flexibility they prefer.”

Lyft said in a statement that “this lawsuit threatens to eliminate work for more than 50,000 people in Massachusetts at the worst possible time.”

Earlier this year California sued Uber and Lyft for classifying drivers as contractors.

 

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