California class action suit against Uber can proceed

The magic of Uber surge pricing for a 20 minute cab ride.
The magic of Uber surge pricing for a 20 minute cab ride.

Uber can whine all it wants about how innovative and world-changing it is but that doesn’t negate that under existing tax law, Uber drivers are almost certainly employees not contractors. A federal judge in San Francisco has ruled a class action suit by four driver representing 160,000 Uber drivers can go forward. This is a big deal, if Uber is forced to reclassify drivers as employees it will cost them hugely. As well it should. This “We are Silicon Valley and we are special” crap needs to get hit in the head repeatedly until it stops.

The threat of a similar lawsuit against the odious Homejoy (who hired the homeless to clean your home) forced them to close.

It doesn’t matter if drivers thought they were independent contractors because Uber told them they were. Nor would their driving change if they became employees, except that they would probably make more and have benefits.

Key to note, according to the court, while Uber drivers believed that they were independent contractors, they came to this belief because Uber told them so,” Michael LeRoy, a professor of labor law at the University of Illinois, told Ars by e-mail. “Under California law, what an individual believes about his or her work relationship to a parent organization does not negate the economic realities of work control exercised by the organization.”

Rules about contracting have been in place for decades and can only be changed by Congress.

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