For quite some time now, Uber has been fighting the perception that its drivers should be employees. The state of California and the UK have said that driver should be considered employees and are entitled to things like minimum wage, holiday pay and other benefits.
It appears that the situation has changed, at least for Uber. A US judge in Philadelphia has ruled that UberBlack drivers are not, in fact, employees under federal law. It’s worth noting that this ruling only applies to Uber’s limousine-like service, UberBlack, but thing is, this could set a precedence for the entire ride-sharing industry.
The judge said that Uber doesn’t have enough control over UberBlack drivers to consider them their employees under the US Fair Labor Standards Act, reports Reuters. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson said that drivers are free to take naps, work when they want, run personal errands or even smoke in between rides.
Unsurprisingly, Uber is pleased with this decision, according to Reuters. Lawyer for the plaintiffs said that he would appeal the ruling to the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, also in Philadelphia. This would make it the first federal appeals court to consider the issue, while judge Baylson is the first to rule on the classification under federal law.