Are Uber Drivers in California Considered Employees?

Updating a blog post we brought you recently, the California Labor Commission has ruled that Uber drivers are employees of the company, rather than independent contractors. Photo of Employee Handbook and Forms

“[Uber holds itself] out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the labor commission wrote in its ruling, involving a claim by a driver who was owed back wages. “The reality, however, is that [Uber is] involved in every aspect of the operation.”

The driver involved in the case was awarded $4,000 in unpaid wages, plus interest. Uber said that it would appeal the decision, as it could have a tremendous impact on its business model, in which drivers are considered independent contractors, carrying the bulk of the transportation company’s operating costs.

Currently, several class action lawsuits are pending against Uber, and its rival Lyft, over employee misclassification claims. In the lawsuits, drivers claim that the companies benefit from their labor and the use of their vehicles.

The transportation applications allow people searching for rides to connect with drivers, who are paid to drive their own vehicles based on items like mileage and time spent on a trip.

How Can an Attorney Assist Me if I am a Misclassified Employee?

As we have noted in previous blogs, it is not uncommon for transportation providers to misclassify employees as independent contractors in California. They do this to cut operating costs, at the expense of drivers.

If believe that your employment status is misclassified, you should speak to our labor attorneys. Note to our firm whether you are providing your own equipment, materials and tools to perform tasks. We can determine if you have a claim or direct you to an agency that can assist you.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys