CA court declares Uber drivers "employees"

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The article was short on details… so what exactly does this mean for areas like the US Virgin Islands that have strictly controlled taxi associations, with things like medallions?

Team ‘disruptive’ is going to be supremely petulant about this; but it’s hard to imagine ruling any other way. If Uber drivers are contractors in anything other than name, you could classify just about anyone as a ‘contractor’ with a few slight edits.


My limited understanding is that under CA law it is MUCH more difficult to use the “contractor” dodge to get out of paying employee benefits than in most states…

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I just heard on the radio, that there are 22,000 drivers signed up for Uber, in San Francisco alone…

I think it’s weird to say that this has “serious implications for the on-demand economy”. Uber is a far cry from say, Craigslist. If they’re going to treat “freelancers” like employees, they should be facing the appropriate regulation on that level. This is not to say that they couldn’t make adjustments to appropriately get their drivers to function as contractors.

It’s almost comical to see there’s nothing so effective and so popular that California Govt interference can’t fuck it up.

Uber is wildly popular for a reason. It puts the decision to engage in services squarely where it belongs: with the consumer. Now, here comes the geniuses of Sacramento to destroy any progress or reimagining of a paradigm.


That’s all part of the plan. Labour laws and consumer protections are just another thing to be “disrupted” and “innovated” away in the name of profit.


When you use “CA” in a headline, it’s difficult to know whether you are abbreviating California or Canada. In this case I thought it was slightly more likely that Canada would produce such a ruling than that California would.

("Ontario, CA: is ambiguous, too. Thanks, CA).


Absolutely. We need to just let companies freely break the laws and do whatever they want. After all, they like it - and isn’t that what really matters?

Popularity isn’t an argument for doing whats right. The “reimagining of a paradigm” you want just screws over low-level employees, stripping them of protections and rights.


Canada will henceforth be referred to as “Canuckistan.” Clarity is important. Thank you.


And as we all know, screwing over employees is morally right as long as the product is popular. That’s why everyone loves sweatshops!

(For bonus points, you could explain how you think Uber treating its employees better will somehow destroy the quality of the cab service, because I think you were unclear about that bit.)


I think it’s a little tricky. I don’t own a car, so I rent cars a lot from neighbors through RelayRides. (RelayRides is a lot more like AirBnB than Uber, in that you are paying an owner of car to borrow their car for a few hours or days, and it’s all paid and insured through the company’s website.)

In that situation, the people renting their cars on RelayRides — or people renting their houses on AirBnB — hardly seem like “employees” of the company. The company is just matching suppliers and demanders.

So when the supplier decides instead to drive you himself, instead of just letting you rent his car, is there a significant difference?

It seems that this case rested more on specifics of how tightly Uber manages its drivers (setting rates for them, giving them phones, etc.), rather than any a priori intrinsic aspect of a generic ride-sharing platform.

(Note, as a pro-labor person, I hate any idea of a company trying to cheat its employees by calling them “contractors.” I just think, however, that this case is a difficult question, which will have to be settled case-by-case, instead of assuming this means that anyone who makes money from the “sharing economy” is really an employee. In the case of Uber, though, it may well be that the drivers should be considered employees.)

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alternately, with adjustments, they could appropriately compensate their employees.


just sing the opening bars next time.


I’d rather have the distinction between exploiter and exploited disrupted.


I don’t see how Uber is under compensating any employees, you sign up knowing you may not get any passengers if there is a surplus of drivers online or a shortage of passengers. In many states cab drivers are not guaranteed minimum wage (Boston is an example). I fail to see how Uber is operating any differently than cab companies other than not limiting the number of total cabs operating.

This is just a California court, so it only applies there, I’d assume.


I love a good ol’fashioned race to the bottom while corporate demigods reap billions.

[quote=“GrimRyan, post:17, topic:59870”]
I don’t see how Uber is under compensating any employees
[/quote] Then clearly you should read more.