New York City Calls Uber Drivers Freelancers

New York Uber execs are off the hook; the drivers they employ are now considered freelancers, not employees, thanks to a statement by Meera Joshi, chairwoman of New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

New York allows drivers to work for several companies simultaneously, curbing their risk for unemployment or inconsistent income. “We have wholeheartedly supported driver flexibility as independent contractors when we allow them, much to the consternation of the industry, to drive for several bases,” Ms. Joshi said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Uber Technologies Inc., founded in San Francisco, is a civilian-driven and rideshare taxi service, and the first of its kind. Since 2009, several companies including Gett and Lyft have developed similar smart phone apps for civilian taxi service in cities around the world. Uber in New York City has suggested that since drivers only connect with passengers through a company app and rely on tips for their wages, they are independent contractors, not employees, of the company. Joshi expressed agreement with Uber’s view. “A driver is not [just] an Uber driver,” she said. “That’s a flexibility the driver is entitled to.”

The city’s view comes in contrast to a California Labor Commission ruling last month that a company driver must be considered an employee and therefore entitled to minimum wage, overtime, worker’s compensation, and reimbursement for work-related expenses, including out-of-pocket gas, maintenance and car insurance. The California Labor Commission’s ruling said Uber drivers are entitled to these benefits as an employee of the company, favoring former San Francisco Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick, who won over $4,000 in the lawsuit.

If you have questions about your employee rights, contact an experienced attorney who will fight for your right to receive compensation and care for injuries sustained on the job. Contact an experienced New York Employment Attorney today.  Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com. You can also visit his website at www.theemployeeslawyer.com.

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