By: Allan M. Siegel
In what could be a precedent-setting decision, the California Labor Commission
recently ruled that a San Francisco Uber driver should be considered an
employee, not an independent contractor. The ruling could mean big changes
for Uber and other ride-hailing services across the country.
Here is some additional information about the ruling:
- The decision - originally reached in early June - drew national attention
when it was appealed by Uber on Tuesday June 16th. Uber is expected to
vehemently appeal the ruling.
- The case in question involved a San Francisco-based Uber driver who filed
suit against the company for over $4,000 in expenses.
- The Commission ordered Uber to cover the costs because it acted more like
an employer than a “logistics company” that connects drivers
with consumers via an app. As an example, the court cited the fact that
Uber sometimes provided drivers with phones, monitored their activity,
and deactivated their account if they didn’t carry enough fares
or had poor approval ratings.
The ruling could have a tremendous impact on the future of Uber and other
similar ride-hailing services, including Lyft. For example, it would mean
more expenses in employee compensation and benefits, such as workers’
compensation and Social Security. It may also potentially improve safety
for passengers by introducing more safety regulations. The decision, so
far, only applies to one driver in California.
Because it is also being appealed, Uber will continue to operate as it
normally has. It also will have a tremendous impact on personal injury
cases, as Uber will be held financially responsible for the acts of their
drivers. In other words, anyone injured by the negligence of an Uber driver
will be able to sue Uber, and hold them responsible for the acts of their
employees. If the drivers were deemed independent contractors then injured
victims would have to sue the drivers directly, which could significantly
impact the injured party’s ability to recover money for their injuries.
Our firm has been helping auto accident victims in the DC metro area for
over 40 years, and we have seen how Uber, Lyft, and other services have
introduced new concerns when it comes to employment, transportation, and
the rights of victims who suffer injuries in accidents.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our attorneys are available to help victims injured in accidents involving
Uber or Lyft, as well as all other types of auto accidents.