Shortly after the California lawmakers passed a bill calling for gig economy workers to be labeled employees rather than independent contractors, an Uber driver in San Francisco filed a proposed class action alleging she and other drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and underpaid. The legislation, which, if signed by the governor will take effect in 2020, requires employers to prove three things to classify workers as independent contractors: that the workers are free from their control, perform work outside the usual business, and — independent of the work for the company — are regularly engaged in the trade they’re hired to do.
Uber’s Chief Legal Officer Tony West acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that the ABC test “certainly sets a higher bar for companies to demonstrate that independent workers are indeed independent,” but added that “just because the test is hard does not mean we will not be able to pass it.”
West noted that several courts have held that drivers’ work falls outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which he described as “serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.” He also said the company will continue to respond to litigation or arbitrations in which it is accused of misclassification, in keeping with Uber’s current approach.
The suit alleges that Uber, as a result of misclassifying its drivers, committed a series of wage violations against them, including not paying for business expenses like gas, insurance and vehicle maintenance and not paying them required minimum wages and overtime
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.