Uber Drivers Are Not Employees. What This Means for Other Gig Workers.

by Evil HR Lady on May 16, 2019

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) just ruled that Uber drivers are, indeed, contractors and not employees. This news made Uber’s stock soar but there’s more to this than just a stock price. This ruling can impact your business if you use contractors or can affect you if you (like me) work in the so-called “gig economy.”

Uber Drivers as Contractors is Unsurprising

Many people focus on the fact that a Trump appointed NLRB General Counsel, Peter B. Robb was behind this decision, but the reality is, it’s a tough sell to argue that Uber drivers could be employees, although that was the stance of the NLRB under the Obama Administration. The NLRB expanded their definition of contractors earlier this year as well.

There are rules surrounding whether a person is a contractor (often called a 1099 employee) or an employee (often called a W2 employee). It can’t just be the decision of the employee/contractor and the company. No one can consent to give away their rights to be an employee if they meet the criteria for W2 employee. The Uber Drivers don’t because they, among other things:

To keep reading, click here: Uber Drivers Are Not Employees. What This Means for Other Gig Workers.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

MariaRose May 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

A great article addressing what Uber/Lyft drivers are to the parent companies. I understand the complaints of the drivers about not earning enough “promised” income, but that argument should have been addressed by the company by limiting the number of drivers allowed in a certain geographic area. Problem is certain areas are over saturated with drivers forcing drivers to put in long hours to earn a decent amount. These two companies have been in existence long enough now to predict the needs of the customers for rides. Drivers should be made aware of these needs when applying to work at a given time period. Look at it as a scheduling condition. Slow times will need fewer drivers despite the desire of the drivers to work those hours. Perhaps better communication between the drivers and the company involved could solve these contractor drivers earning problems.

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Texan In Exile May 16, 2019 at 11:56 pm

Uber and Lyft have no motivation to do anything other than what they are doing, which is relying on labor that doesn’t really understand what it costs to operate a car in the long run. They are taking advantage of driver ignorance.

And yes, I know their initial business model was probably based on drivers selling the extra space in their cars to places the drivers were already going, which would mean the variable cost of adding a passenger was nothing.

But drivers want variable cost plus a contribution to overhead and that’s not how it’s working out.

What really needs to happen is for drivers to realize they are being screwed in this model and to stop working for Uber and Lyft.

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c andrew May 17, 2019 at 4:33 am

I drive for a living. Looked at Uber as a side-gig for down times. Realized that the rates they were offering were doing nothing more than converting capital (my vehicle) into income. Not a good model to work with long term.

I passed on the opportunity.

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TexanInExile May 17, 2019 at 7:30 pm

They’re not even covering their own operating expenses! They are just spending shareholder money. I don’t even know how this will work in the long run, especially as other drivers figure out what you did.

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Mike May 20, 2019 at 7:54 am

Rightly said by you. Uber drivers can be seen as some sort of professionals or businessmen who are working on their own free will.

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