Monica Montgomery requested that Lyft give $5,000 worth of free rides to I Am My Brother's Keeper.
On May 5, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced her office was joining a lawsuit against gig transit companies Lyft and Uber for violating Assembly Bill 5, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a fellow San Diego Democrat.
Other plaintiffs in the case are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the city attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
David Muhammad holds a COVID-19 food distribution event every Tuesday at the Jacobs Center.
I Am My Brother's Keeper website
"California law is clear: for the full range of protections afforded by California's Wage Orders, Labor Code, and Unemployment Insurance Code, workers are generally presumed to be employees unless the hiring entity can overcome this presumption by establishing each of the three factors embodied in the strict 'ABC' test," the suit claims.
"Uber and Lyft cannot overcome this presumption with respect to their drivers."
Accusing the ride-providing giants of "thumbing their noses at the California Legislature and the officials charged with enforcing these laws," Elliott added, "It's time for Uber and Lyft to respect the law."
The non-profit’s so-called green program is run by Sister Maria Muhammed.
Two days later, at the behest of San Diego city council Democrat Monica Montgomery, Lyft gave $5,000 worth of free rides to I Am My Brother's Keeper Community Development Corporation, based on Imperial Avenue in Montgomery's Fourth district, per a May 27 disclosure filing.
The charity, led by executive director David Muhammad, specializes in workforce training, clean energy, and providing food to the poor and is currently holding a COVID-19 food distribution event every Tuesday at the Jacobs Center, according to the non-profit's website.
Muhammad "founded the Baltimore Citizens for Positive Change [Community Development Corporation], an entity that cultivated partnerships between family-driven organizations working to end our nation's youth homicide epidemic one neighborhood at a time," per his profile on the site.
The non-profit’s so-called green program is run by Sister Maria, "known for working in numerous fields over the years until she found her love and niche in teaching at Muhammad University of Islam in Inglewood CA, and The School of Original Thought in Baltimore MD, where she was also appointed to the position of Dean of Girls," the site says.
Lyft's gift is another example of how, detractors say, the company has deployed charitable contributions during its ongoing battle with state officials to remain exempt from the requirements of AB 5, which would force drivers to be employees rather than freelancers.
"Both [Lyft and Uber] have launched an aggressive public relations campaign in the hopes of enshrining their ability to mistreat their workers," asserts the Elliott suit, "all while peddling the lie that driver flexibility and worker protections are somehow legally incompatible."
In November, Lyft boasted that the Round Up & Donate program, which solicits charitable contributions from its riders, had raised more than $18 million from Lyft customers.
"We're in awe of the collective impact they've made protecting LGBTQ+ rights, supporting U.S. veterans and military members, helping provide rides when they're needed most, and so much more," says a November 7 blog post by the company.
"Curious which areas in the U.S. give the most? Here are the top 10 cities based on the dollar amount donated: San Francisco, NYC, L.A., Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, Miami."
In June of last year, Jeren Miles, Lyft's then-head of Community Affairs, Public Policy, came up with $250 for the 2020 San Diego mayoral campaign of Assembly Democrat Todd Gloria, according to city filings. The San Francisco-based company gave $50 to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee on September 30 of last year.