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A New York court decision could mean Uber drivers will soon be actual employees

Uber is currently reviewing their options for an appeal.

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In what’s being described as a significant victory for worker advocates, the New York State labor review board says that three former Uber drivers were Uber employees for unemployment insurance purposes. With this decision, Uber might have no choice but to call all its drivers in the state employees, according to Politico.

The “precedential” decision ends Uber’s long fight with the labor department in the state over the employee issue. More far-reaching, the labor board might have just underscored a pivotal question for the global gig economy:

Are the people driving for Uber or delivering coffee for Postmates independent contractors or are they employees with benefits like unemployment insurance?

There are currently 65,000 Uber drivers just in New York City, and that number is growing.  As a recent city-commissioned report found, “Uber alone would be the largest for-profit private employer in New York City — if Uber drivers were classified as employees rather than independent contractors.”

That may be true, but as Politico explains, Uber also has heavy turnover.

Should Uber now have to pay hundreds of dollars a week in unemployment insurance to deactivated drivers, it would face a heavy financial burden.

If Uber wants to appeal the board’s findings, it will have to do so in state court.

According to an Uber spokeswoman,

We disagree with this ruling and we are reviewing our options. We are confident that the ruling uniquely applies to the three claimants because many of the practices cited in the opinion never applied to one or more of the claimants, are no longer in place, or never existed at all.

The New York Labor Department said if Uber doesn’t appeal the decision, it will become final and Uber will be required to make unemployment compensation contributions for the three individual in the case, and other “similarly situated drivers.”

Do you think Uber drivers should be considered employees? Let us know below. 

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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