Airbnb hosts ‘lack of safety’ for its workers
Airbnb hosts “lack a basic safety standard” for its employees, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in California Superior Court.
The suit, which is the latest in a string of labor lawsuits filed against the San Francisco-based company by workers and guests who claim it failed to pay overtime, has been described as the latest blow to the popular rental platform, which has gained a reputation as a hub for people seeking to make short-term rentals from their homes.
The suit, filed by a group of about 60 workers who have been employed by Airbnb for nearly a year, claims the company failed to provide a basic minimum of safety and health care benefits for its drivers, cleaners and housekeeping staff.
In a statement Monday, Airbnb said the workers were “seriously injured” in accidents and the company has “revised our policies to ensure our staff is safe, healthy and supported in the workplace.”
“This lawsuit is a major setback to Airbnb’s efforts to make our workers, contractors and guests feel safe and comfortable working at our properties,” the statement said.
“We’re working closely with our attorneys to provide these workers the necessary information, support and compensation to ensure they’re treated fairly.”
Airbnb is also considering filing a federal lawsuit in California.
The plaintiffs allege that Airbnb failed to meet its minimum safety requirements in the first place, failing to take steps to ensure that its drivers and cleaners were paid overtime or to pay them overtime, and failing to provide workers with mandatory safety training.
The workers are seeking unspecified damages.
Airbnb, which was founded in 2010 and has more than 2.6 million hosts worldwide, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A California Superior court judge in San Francisco ruled last year that Airbnb had to pay $10 million to four workers who alleged they were fired from the company for failing to meet a mandatory safety requirement.
The company settled the case with one of the workers in January.
The workers are represented by the National Employment Law Project, which said in a statement that the case highlights “how Airbnb has become a major player in the hospitality industry.”
“In response to the workers’ complaints, Airbnb adopted a comprehensive safety program, including hiring additional staff to ensure the company’s safety,” said Danielle Gorman, an attorney with the NELP.
“The plaintiffs are now suing Airbnb to force it to follow the program and pay the workers the benefits they’re owed.”