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Home » Blog » Are Rideshare Drivers Employees?

Are Rideshare Drivers Employees?

Posted on June 19, 2019 | By Omid Nosrati | Firm News

Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies have been at the center of an employment law controversy almost since their inception. Unlike taxi companies, ridesharing services do not classify their drivers as employees. Instead, they classify them as independent contractors in all 50 states. This makes rideshare drivers ineligible to receive benefits promised to employees under federal and state laws.

Are Uber and Lyft Drivers Employees?

Being an independent contractor is not the same as being an employee. Independent contractors are technically their own bosses, or owners of their own businesses. Companies can hire independent contractors on a project-to-project basis, but they will not owe the contractor any of the same benefits or minimum compensation amounts as they would with a typical employee. Employers in California do not owe independent contractors paid sick leave, medical leave, retirement benefits, paid vacation, etc.

Currently, Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors. Neither rideshare giant has to pay its drivers gas stipends, equipment reimbursements, benefits, sick leave, or money for vehicle damage that occurs while on the job. Rideshare drivers have had a hard time getting Uber and Lyft to pay for anything – even damages and injuries supposedly covered under both companies’ $1 million insurance policies. This has led to multiple lawsuits against the rideshare companies from frustrated drivers.

If you believe that your rights were violated and want to speak to a local Los Angeles employment lawyer, contact Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation. We can help answer any questions you may have about your rights. Call for a free consultation

New California Bill Could Change the Rules

California Assembly Bill 5 is a sweeping piece of legislation that aims to crack down on employers that use independent contractors. The bill addressed app-based technology companies in general and does not list Uber or Lyft specifically, but is unlikely to exempt rideshare companies. If the bill passed into law, employers in California will have to clarify what it means to be an employee vs. an independent contractor. The bill would make it harder for Uber and Lyft to get away with classifying drivers as independent contractors. It could change the rules for millions of workers participating in the gig economy that has come from task-based apps.

Movement for a Rideshare Driver Bill of Rights

One organization, Drivers United, is advocating for a rideshare driver Bill of Rights using a petition. The proposed Bill of Rights is demanding many changes in terms of wages, reimbursements, representation, data sharing, and more. If the Bill of Rights were to pass in a city, Uber and Lyft would have to change a lot of their core employment practices based on driver demands.

  • A 10% commission cap for Uber/Lyft on what the rider pays
  • Pay per mile and per minute while traveling to pick up a passenger
  • Hourly minimum pay matching according to city rules
  • Gas price surcharges added to fare
  • Independent organization allowed to negotiate on behalf of drivers
  • The right to organize free from retaliation
  • Transparent de-activation appeals process
  • Transparent estimated fare payment and trip destination before accepting trips
  • Rideshare vehicle cap to reduce carbon emissions
  • Mandatory data sharing with local authorities for traffic management

If you wish to join the movement for a rideshare driver Bill of Rights, add your name and information as a supporter. You will receive updates on the status of the movement, which was founded in Los Angeles. Rideshare drivers banding together to take a stand against Uber and Lyft’s unfair policies could make a real difference in how rideshare companies treat their drivers in the future.

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About the Author
Omid Nosrati

Mr. Nosrati been selected as one of the Top 100 Labor and Employment lawyers in the State of California for 2016, 2017, and 2018 by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). He has a “Superb” (10 out of 10) rating on Avvo and a 4.9 out of 5.0 Peer Rating from other lawyers on Martindale Hubbell. Omid Nosrati is also a member of the respected California Employment Lawyers Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Santa Monica Bar Association. He is a firm believer in education, loves to read about technology trends in the legal field and leverages his firm’s technological strengths to benefit each of his firm’s clients.