An official at the California Labor Commission has taken an axe to Uber’s claim that its drivers are really independent operators and not employees of the tech company.
In an opinion filed in state court Tuesday — and posted here by TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook — Stephanie Barrett, a deputy labor commissioner, challenged the business model that now undergirds much of the transportation industry as well as the so-called sharing economy. In the case, an Uber driver named Barbara Ann Berwick argued the company owed her money for costs she incurred while driving customers around in the car she owned.
In a normal employment relationship, those costs are borne by the boss, not the worker. But Uber considers Berwick an independent contractor, an increasingly common arrangement that shifts certain business expenses onto those doing the work. By using independent contractors, Uber not only doesn’t have to buy SUVs and gasoline, it doesn’t have to worry about payroll taxes or workers’ compensation costs.
Read the full story at Uber Driver Is An Employee, Not An Independent Contractor, Rules California Labor Official.