Audet & Partners, LLP reports that the California Labor Commission has sided with an Uber driver and held that the driver is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor under California state law. In the case before the Labor Commission, Barbara Ann Berwick, an Uber driver, had argued that as an employee of Uber, she was entitled to reimbursement for costs incurred while transporting Uber customers to various destinations.
Uber has maintained that under its business model, Uber drivers are “independent contractors” and not employees and thus expenses, including gas and various taxes and workers’ compensation costs, must be borne by the driver.
Under California law, the primary determinant of employee versus independent contractor status is the degree of control that the company retains over the worker. In the case of Uber drivers, the Labor Commission rejected Uber’s arguments and held that because Uber is “involved in every aspect of the operation,” is is to be deemed as an employer.
As a result, Ms. Berwick has been awarded $3,878.08 plus interest for previously unreimbursed expenses as an Uber driver.
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