Uber is more popular than ever in large American cities, but a serious question exists: are Uber drivers employees or independent contractors? One California judge with several Uber cases on his docket may be on the verge of answering that question.
Two of the cases currently before the judge include:
- An accusation that Uber’s background check policies violate the Fair Credit reporting Act; and
- An accusation that the company did not give drivers an appropriate share of tips collected.
In June of 2015, the New York Times reported on the California Labor Commissioner’s Office determination that one Uber driver was rightfully classified as an employee and not an independent contractor. The ride share company may have to pay the driver more than $4,000. The Commissioner’s determination only applies to a single case, and Uber is appealing the decision. Company representatives point to decisions in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas where drivers were formally classified as independent contractors. On the other side of the issue, the state of Florida recently classified a former Uber driver as an employee for the purpose of claiming unemployment benefits. Though the classification of these drivers remains uncertain, this dispute is likely far from over.