Uber hits back at California driver employee claims

In the modern world, many companies are side-stepping the expenses of having employees by classifying workers as contractors instead. Often this is done erroneously — if workers are required to do certain things, such as work on a set schedule, they must be classified as employees rather than contractors. Uber and ridesharing services like it are somewhat of a grey area, or at least have been. Drivers on the service recently challenged their contractor status, saying they should be classified as employees instead. Uber challenged their claims but didn't fair too well, and now it has fired back.

The final blow to Uber came recently, with the California Labor Commission ruling that the company's drivers are employees, not contractors — at least according to Reuters. The ruling was filed yesterday in San Francisco, and would prove a financial blow to the company — with drivers classified as employees rather than contractors, Uber is responsible for covering various costs that it doesn't have to worry about with contractors.

Uber, though, has fired back about the ruling...only it has targeted Reuters, saying the "headline [of its article] was not accurate". Said a spokesperson:

The California Labor Commission's ruling is non-binding and applies to a single driver. Indeed it is contrary to a previous ruling by the same commission, which concluded in 2012 that the driver 'performed services as an independent contractor, and not as a bona fide employee.'

Five other states have also come to the same conclusion. It's important to remember that the number one reason drivers choose to use Uber is because they have complete flexibility and control. The majority of them can and do choose to earn their living from multiple sources, including other ride sharing companies. We have appealed this ruling.

If such a widespread ruling were ever made — that contractors are employees — it would effect the share economy as a whole. Other similar operations exist using models akin to what Uber uses — providing a "neutral" system through which the average person can perform a job for another person, whether it is driving them somewhere, delivering a package, or cleaning a home.

Note: it appears Reuters has since updated its piece.

SOURCE: Uber Blog