SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Mateo man who collects Lime electric scooters has sued the rental company in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that it violates state labor laws by classifying him and similar workers as independent contractors.

Lime, formerly known as LimeBike, rents dockless electric bicycles and scooters in a number of cities. It is based in San Francisco and operates using the business name Neutron Holdings Inc.

The company calls people who collect the scooters “Juicers.” The Juicers pick up scooters where users have left them, recharge them and return them to designated Lime parking locations.

Yassin Olabi, who has worked as a Juicer since August, claims he should be treated as an employee rather than an independent contractor and that because he is an employee, the company is violating labor laws including minimum wage and expense reimbursement requirements.

He says in the lawsuit that his earnings, after the expenses he has to pay, amount to $2 to $5 per hour. The state minimum wage for large businesses is $11 per hour.

The lawsuit was originally filed on Sept. 11 and revised in an amended complaint filed on Wednesday.

It asks for a court order requiring Lime to cease the alleged labor violations and to pay statutory fines to present and former Juicers and to the state.

A spokesperson for Lime was not immediately available for comment.

The lawsuit claims that Lime is willfully disregarding the definition of an independent contractor clarified in a California Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

In that decision, the high court said an independent contractor must be free from the control of the hiring company in the performance of the work; must perform work outside the hiring company’s usual business; and must have an independently established occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed.

“Lime, which is a sophisticated company based in California with prominent California investors, is or should be aware of these requirements,” the lawsuit claims.

 

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