Federal labor lawyer says Uber drivers are not employees

There has been an ongoing debate regarding whether or not gig-economy drivers for Uber and Lyft are independent contractors or employees, who would be eligible for benefits. The National Labor Relations Board recently ruled Uber drivers, specifically between 2015 and 2016, were independent contractors, Bloomberg Law first reported.

This decision aligns with a similar one from the Department of Labor, which determined gig-economy workers are independent contractors and therefore not eligible for minimum wage and overtime pay.

This decision, however, does not mean there won’t be statewide lawsuits targeting the likes of Uber and Lyft regarding employment classification. What this does mean is the NLRB will maintain a position that Uber drivers are not eligible for federal protections around unionizing. Drivers will also have a harder time to file unfair labor practices charges at the federal level.

The release of this decision comes just days after Uber made its lackluster debut on the NYSE. Ahead of the IPO, drivers protested outside of the company’s San Francisco headquarters, seeking better wages, benefits, transparent policies and a voice. Drivers also went on strike all over the world with similar demands.

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