France’s high court ruled in favor of an Uber driver who had asked that his contractual relationship with Uber be changed to an employment contract, the court said on Wednesday (March 4), per reports.
The decision by the Court of Cassation could upend the gig economy model in France, where other ride-hailing and food delivery apps depend on self-employed drivers.
“When connecting to the Uber digital platform, a relationship of subordination is established between the driver and the company,” the court said in a statement. “Hence, the driver does not provide services as a self-employed person, but as an employee.”
The Court of Cassation upheld a court of appeal decision that ruled Uber drivers are not considered self-employed contractors since they can’t set pricing or get their own clients.
“The driver who uses the Uber application does not constitute his own clientele, does not freely set his prices and does not determine the conditions of performance of his transport service. The route is imposed on him by the company and, if he does not follow it, price corrections are applied. The destination is not known to the driver, thus revealing that he cannot freely choose the route that suits him,” the court said in a press release.
The decision could set the stage for other Uber drivers to request reclassification of their work relationship with Uber. The current model enables Uber to avoid numerous taxes that fund France’s welfare system, Reuters reported.
California, where Uber is headquartered, passed a law called AB5 that makes it difficult for apps to categorize drivers as independent contractors.
“This decision does not reflect the reasons why drivers choose to use the Uber app,” Uber said in a written statement to Reuters. “Drivers value Uber because of the independence and freedom to use our app if, when and where they want.”
Uber said the court’s ruling would not trigger a spontaneous reclassification of all drivers.
Lyft and Uber are funding efforts to unseat California Rep. Tyler Diep (R-72), the only Republican who voted for AB5. Lyft has put $2 million in an account to defeat the Orange County assemblyman, and Uber has shelled out $200,000 to a PAC that opposes Diep.
Early primary election results Tuesday night (March 3) show that former GOP state senator Janet Nguyen has a solid lead over Diep and two other challengers in the narrowly red 72nd Assembly District.