San Francisco secures over $5 million settlement for DoorDash workers

Agreement will benefit nearly 4,500 DoorDash workers and represents the largest settlement in the Office of Labor Standards and Enforcement’s history
November 22, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO — City Attorney David Chiu, San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) Director Patrick Mulligan, and Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced today that the city secured an over $5.325 million settlement from DoorDash after an OLSE investigation into alleged violations of two San Francisco labor laws. The vast majority of the settlement, $5,137,953 million, will go directly to DoorDash workers who made deliveries in San Francisco between 2016 and 2020, and $187,046 will cover OLSE’s enforcement costs and bolster future enforcement efforts.

“We are living through an era of deep inequality, and nothing could be more important than ensuring workers are paid fairly and their benefits are safeguarded,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “The City conducted a thorough, diligent investigation that resulted in this unprecedented settlement for San Francisco workers.”

“This settlement serves as testament to the hard work, dedication, and resilience of OLSE staff,” said OLSE Director Patrick Mulligan. “Throughout the course of the investigation there has been ongoing public debate regarding worker misclassification resulting in precedent-setting court decisions, actions by the State Legislature, and even a California ballot initiative. Through it all, our office was unwavering in its commitment to workers’ rights and the enforcement of labor laws.”

“San Francisco has long led the country in worker protections, and this historic settlement sends a strong message that these laws will be enforced and that companies cannot exploit our workers for profit and get away with it,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “While this wage theft complaint was filed three years ago, it covers conduct that DoorDash continued during the pandemic, a particularly devastating time for workers and small businesses. We hope this victory brings restitution and relief to those harmed, including the knowledge that this settlement is a tacit acknowledgment that drivers are workers – and as such, have rights and protections under the law.”

“I want to thank the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement for their continued commitment to ensuring fairness for our City’s workers,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “Now, as a direct result of their work, close to 4,500 delivery workers will receive fairer compensation for providing essential services.”

About the Investigation
The investigation into DoorDash’s practices was initiated by a complaint filed with OLSE by Supervisor Aaron Peskin after media reports of DoorDash allegedly misclassifying its workers and using customer tips to subsidize the base pay of workers.

In 2019, OLSE opened a formal investigation into DoorDash and alleged violations of San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO) and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO). The HCSO requires employers with 20 or more workers to spend a minimum amount on health care benefits per covered employee. The PSLO requires employers to provide sick leave to all employees in San Francisco. OLSE has the authority to enforce both the HCSO and PSLO.

Over the course of its investigation, OLSE issued four Determinations of Violations, which led to the settlement between the parties benefitting nearly 4,500 DoorDash workers who made deliveries in San Francisco between 2016 and 2020. Many of the affected workers were making deliveries in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, making this settlement all the more important in supporting essential workers. At $5.325 million, this is the largest settlement secured by OLSE in its twenty-year history.