Lesson Learned from Uber: Employment Classification in the Gig Economy

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by Jennifer L. Villier | Legal Education Faculty, WealthCounsel

Uber—a popular on-demand ride-hailing service— has been riddled with litigation over whether its drivers are employees or independent contractors. Uber claims its drivers are independent contractors, while its drivers claim they are employees. Courts have reached contradictory conclusions on their proper classification. Absent a clear-cut characterization of employment status, Uber and other companies with on-demand workers must be familiar with state law governing employment relationships, and how it has been applied to these novel arrangements. This paper describes two judicial approaches and suggests that a hybrid classification of sorts may be on the horizon.