Ruling requires Uber & Lyft to classify drivers as employees

Frank S. Clowney III

Employee classification is an important issue that many people aren’t aware of.  This is particularly true in circumstances where a worker is deemed an independent contractor rather than an employee. The real life ramifications of such classification can be tremendous. After all, independent contractors do not receive health insurance coverage or paid time off, and they usually have to pay twice as much in taxes. In other words, there are far fewer protections for independent contractors.

A Changing Landscape

Since the gig economy has ballooned over the last decade or so, the number of independent contractors has increased dramatically. While some enjoy the flexibility afforded to independent contractors, others feel like these workers are taken advantage of by those who pay them. As a result, litigation pertaining to Lyft and Uber driver classification has been brewing for a while. A recent court decision may mark a major shift in the gig economy and how independent contractors are viewed.

The Court’s Ruling

The recently handed down ruling holds that drivers for rideshare companies Lyft and Uber are not independent contractors and instead should be reclassified as employees. The order doesn’t go into effect for a few more days, but it is expected that the rideshare companies will appeal. The companies had asked for the order reclassifying drivers to be stayed pending a vote on the matter scheduled for November. That request was denied but later granted by an appellate court, thereby keeping drivers classified as independent contractors while the case plays out on appeal. Lyft and Uber are worried that the change is not in line with what workers want, and that it could devastate their businesses. Others hailed the ruling as a huge victory for workers’ rights.

Are You Facing Employment Issues?

Regardless of how you view this case, worker classification is just one of the many employment law issues you could face. If you feel like you’re being wronged in the workplace, then it might be time for you to reach out to discuss your situation with an attorney who can help you protect your rights.