Are Uber drivers entitled to overtime?

There has been a lot of talk recently about Uber. Uber owns a mobile phone app that allows people who need a ride and would normally take a taxi to use their phone to request transportation from Uber. Riders can even request a certain type of car.

Uber claims to “partner” with drivers who pass background checks, have insurance in compliance with all state requirements and meet all local regulations for transportation providers. Uber claims those drivers are not employees but independent contractors.

Legal controversies currently abound about whether Uber drivers are actually employees despite Uber’s claims that they are not. This is important in two major areas: 1) If Uber is an employer, then it can be sued for damages when one of its drivers negligently causes an injury; and, 2) If drivers are employees, there are wage laws that Uber must abide by, including reimbursement for business expenses as required by some states.

In December 2013, a San Francisco judge refused to dismiss a class action lawsuit brought by Uber drivers against Uber.  A copy of the complaint can be found here . The drivers claim they were improperly classified as independent contractors and should be considered employees. The drivers note that Uber establishes requirements they must meet or be fired, has rules they must follow about the timeliness of picking up riders, what subjects they are allowed to discuss with the riders and the condition of their vehicles. Drivers must even give a portion of their tips to Uber.

The determination of whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors will affect the wages and benefits Uber will be required to pay the drivers. If Uber is determined to be an employer, the company can also be sued for the negligence of an Uber driver.

If you are an Uber driver with a wage issue please either call us or fill out the ‘contact us’ form and someone will be in touch with you soon. We may be able to help.

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