SAN FRANCISCO—App-based personal transit options, such as Uber or Lyft, have simultaneously replaced taxi cab usage and created a pool of primary and secondary jobs for people with vehicles. Until recently, to be eligible as an Uber driver, one had to meet certain vehicle criteria and go through a simple interview process to be employed as an independent contractor.
However, on Tuesday, June 16 Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick was awarded $4000 dollars by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office in expenses and was recognized as an employee.
This particular case could create an entire new business model for Uber: the app could now serve as a taxable employed position for drivers. The company still stands by the current self-employed manner of business, stating that they allow their drivers more freedoms and keeps costs low for passengers. Benefits for drivers, many of whom use Uber as a sole source of employment, would include reimbursement for gas and car expenses, along with unemployment and health benefits.
A hearing for class certification for Uber will come this August.