UBER DRIVERS are freelancers rather than employees, a US judge had ruled.
A federal ruling on the crapsicab service's drivers, the first of its kind, showed that Uber does not, in the opinion of the court, exert enough control over drivers for them to be considered employees.
US District Judge Michael Baylson, sitting in Philadelphia, rejected calls from drivers for UberBlack, the company's limo division, to be treated as employees with all of the perks that go with.
Reuters reports that Judge Baylson argued that Uber drivers get their own perks by choosing their hours, and being free to nap, run errands or have unlimited cigarette breaks.
The news could have significant ramifications for the rest of the so-called 'gig economy' which have been subject to a number of test cases as this new style of working emerges.
Uber's spokeswoman said that the company is "pleased" with the decision, but the plaintiffs have confirmed that an appeal will be mounted in the Philadelphia 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals.
The problem is, even within America, there's still no agreement on this matter. Florida ruled that Uber drivers aren't employees. But both California and New York have said they are.
That said, California has also ruled that GrubHub delivery drivers aren't employees, so there's still some confusion there.
In the UK, a test case ruled that Uber drivers in London were entitled to the minimum wage, which puts them in the bracket of employees, but concerns over staffing rules and passenger safety have led to a ban of Uber in London anyway, though this is being appealed.
The plaintiffs in the Philly case were arguing that Uber had failed to pay them minimum wage or overtime, and thus were in breach of the Fair Labour Standards Act. This ruling could set a precedent for other cities' Uber operations and beyond. µ
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