Court of Appeals: UBER drivers are not employees

Historic City News has learned that, in a unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Miami, drivers using the San Francisco-based ridesharing service UBER are independent contractors and not employees.

In publishing their decision yesterday, the Florida appellate court has ruled that a former UBER driver, Darrin E. McGillis, isn’t entitled to be paid unemployment benefits from the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Drivers exercise a level of free agency and control over their work different from that of the traditional employer-employee relationship,” said the opinion by Judges Barbara Lagoa, Vance E. Salter, and Thomas Logue. “Drivers are permitted to work at their own discretion, and UBER provides no direct supervision, and further, UBER does not prohibit drivers from working for its direct competitors.”

McGillis sued to collect unemployment benefits after his use of the UBER driver application was terminated; allegedly for “violations of Uber’s user privacy policy.” UBER accounts for all payments to drivers using its application an Internal Revenue Service form known as a “1099” — used to report payments to independent contractors.

UBER does not provide benefits such as medical insurance, vacation pay, or retirement pay. UBER is fighting and winning legal battles in other states to continue operating as a contractor, not an employer, under each state’s labor laws.

CEO Travis Kalanick was pleased with the Florida appeals court decision. Last year, UBER settled lawsuits for millions of dollars in California and Massachusetts that allowed it to keep classifying drivers as contractors in those states.

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