On September 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge, Edward Chen, authorized the certification of a class action in a lawsuit against Uber Technologies, Inc. for worker misclassification of Uber drivers. The drivers claimed they were misclassified as "independent contractors," and rather are properly classified as "employees." Thus, if the court eventually sides with Uber, the ride-share company would be subject to penalties, applicable lost wages or overtime wages, California and federal law regarding unfair competition, worker benefits, and employment taxes.
Judge Chen applied California law governing worker classification, including the "economic control" test. (See S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Dep't of Indus. Relations (Borello), 48 Cal. 3d 341, 350 (1989), and Messenger Couriers Ass'n of Am. v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd., 175 Cal. App. 4th 1074 (2009).
Click here to read more about the case, O'Connor v. Uber Technologies, Inc.
We have covered this and related Uber federal misclassification suits, as they develop. Click here for our previous report concerning Uber and Lyft.
Worker classification issues are complex, especially in California. If you have any concerns or questions in this regard, please contact us.