The California Labor Commission said that a driver for Uber should be classified as an employee, not an independent contractor.
The ruling ordered Uber to reimburse Barbara Ann Berwick, a former Uber driver, $4,152.20 in expenses and other costs for the eight-week period or so that she worked as a driver for the service last year.
Uber has long claimed to be a technology company, not a taxi company even if its original name was Ubercab. But the labor commission found that it functioned as taxi company and as an employer.
“Defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the Labor Commisson wrote about Uber. “The reality, however, is that defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.”
According to the New York Times, in the course of driving for Uber between July and September 2014, working 60 to 80 hours a week, she said, she earned about $11,000 before expenses and taxes.
“If you work it out, if I didn’t get compensated for expenses, I’d be working for less than minimum wage,” Ms. Berwick told the Times. So she said filed with the California Labor Commission for overtime, expenses and interest, setting in motion the events that led to the ruling.