Uber Lawsuit Verdict: Drivers Are Contractors, Not Employees


A three-judge panel has ruled in favor of the company in the Uber lawsuit focused on Uber jobs and whether the ridesharing company’s drivers should be considered Uber employees or freelancers.

According to The Verge, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on Tuesday (September 25) that reversed the class certification order in the case of O’Connor v. Uber. The suit, which has been making its rounds through the courts for five years, was filed by Uber drivers who argued that they should be categorized as employees rather than independent contractors. The decision was reversed on the grounds that the ridesharing company’s arbitration clause prohibits class actions.

“We have, unfortunately, been long expecting this,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney representing the Uber drivers. She pointed to the Ninth Circuit’s previous ruling against Uber drivers, as well as the US Supreme Court’s decision in Lewis v. Epic Systems earlier this year, in leading up to this decision. “Those two previous rulings,” she said in an email, “removed one of our remaining arguments for why Uber should not be able to use its arbitration clause to avoid certification of a class for its widespread labor violations.”

The Ninth Circuit ruling impacts a consolidated appeal of 11 pending cases centered around the same issue. With today’s ruling in favor of Uber, drivers will now be considered contractors.

“We are pleased with the Court’s decision,” a spokesperson said.

But its drivers are not giving up. Liss-Riordan said she is considering an en banc appeal, where an appeals court agrees to rehear arguments.

“In the meantime, because the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling on Uber’s arbitration clause, we are urging all Uber drivers who want to pursue these misclassification claims to contact us immediately to sign up for individual arbitration,” she said. “Thousands of drivers have already signed up for individual arbitration. If Uber wants to resolve these disputes one by one, we are ready to do that — one by one.”



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