For years, Uber drivers have been fighting to gain employment rights and protections, and Uber has been resisting each step of the way. In an unfortunate blow against the drivers, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that federal labor laws do not qualify Uber drivers as employees. Instead, Uber drivers are technically contractors, as Uber has been arguing all along.
Why Does It Matter If Uber Drivers Aren’t Employees?
With the National Labor Relations Board’s statement painting Uber drivers as contractors, not employees, under federal law, a couple key federal employment rights and protections have been effectively pushed out of range of Uber drivers. Without federal classification and protections, Uber drivers cannot form or join a union. Finding a way to unionize has been a hot issue for Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing drivers, as unionization is often the first step in securing other employment benefits.
Not being recognized by federal descriptions of an employee also means Uber drivers also cannot file an unfair labor practice lawsuit. Many unfair labor practice charges originate from incidents of unpaid wages, for example. With the NLRB pinning the “contractor” title on Uber drivers, pursuing unpaid wages has become all the more difficult for them.
It is worth noting that Postmates couriers, who deliver products and foods on demand rather than people, gained recognition as employees under the Obama Administration. Given that Uber drivers perform arguably similar tasks under quite similar job conditions, it is expected the Postmates classification will serve as a foundation for further arguments brought forth by the technically un-unionized Uber drivers. On the hand, though, the Trump Administration has made steps to protect companies in the current gig economy, which could further hinder progress for Uber drivers seeking employment status.
You can learn more about this recent NLRB announcement by clicking here and viewing a full article from Bloomberg Law. (Login information or subscription may be required.) To work with an federal employment rights law firm with offices throughout California – from Oakland and Sacramento to Santa Barbara and San Diego – about an employment misclassification case of your own, call (888) 796-4010 and connect with Polaris Law Group. Led by Attorney Bill Marder, who alone has 25+ years of legal experienced focused on employment law cases, the firm is prepared to fight for you, even when other lawyers shy away from your difficult case.
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