App-based gig workers have become an essential part of society, from driving passengers to delivering food. Now, due to an arcane clause in the rules governing their compensation, drivers may be owed hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sergio Avedian is one of the drivers who discovered the discrepancy and a senior contributor to the Rideshare Guy. Avedian joined host Lisa McRee on “LA Times Today” to explain how drivers can cash in.

In 2020, Proposition 22 overrrode part of Assembly Bill 5, making app-based gig workers independent contractors of companies like Uber or Lyft, rather than employees. Avedian and another driver, Pablo Gomez, looked closely at the law and realized the companies owed drivers a few cents per mile that they drove.

“It said that there had to be an inflation adjustment made for what gig workers should get paid, and that has not been done,” Avedian said. “It looked like small amounts, two cents for 2022 and two more cents for 2023. But then if you consider that there are 1.4 million gig workers in California, that’s a huge number. And an average gig worker will drive 4,000 to 5,000 miles a month. When we did the calculations, we came up with billions of miles.”

Avedian and Gomez called California Treasurer Fiona Ma, who was supposed to be making these adjustments public each year. 

“Her excuse was that Prop. 22 was under litigation,” Avedian said. “So the law of the land is under litigation, [she doesn’t] have to publish it. We talked to our legal scholars, and they said no such thing. Prop. 22 was the law of the land. It was just oversight or ignorance, because when we first called her office, they absolutely had no clue what we were talking about.”

Eventually, Avedian was paid $300 for his part-time driving. 

“If you multiply that times a million drivers, that’s just $300 million,” he said. “I had one driver receive $1,100 from Uber and $800 from Lyft. These companies are not transparent. They will not tell us what they’re putting out there. So we don’t know. But our estimates are going to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and we got paid. So I think all the companies paid.”

Avedian also hosts a podcast and live stream, which educates drivers and voters about where their money goes under Proposition 22.

Click the arrow above to watch the full interview.

Watch "LA Times Today" at 7 and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday on Spectrum News 1 and the Spectrum News app.