US court rules in favour of Uber in employment status case

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A US district court has ruled that drivers for taxi organisation Uber’s high-end car division are independent contractors as opposed to employees, and are therefore not entitled to wages or overtime pay.

The case, Razak v Uber Technologies, involved three drivers for Uber Black claiming that they are employees instead of independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act and the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law.

As employees, the drivers would be entitled to employment rights, such as wages. Employment rights are not applicable to independent contractors.

In the original lawsuit, which was filed in February 2016, the drivers argued that as they identified themselves as employees, Uber was therefore failing to pay them wages, not paying overtime premiums for any hours worked over a 40-hour working week and not covering business expenses.

District judge Michael Baylson, who ruled over the case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, dismissed the complaint on Wednesday 11 April 2018.

He said in the published order: “It is hereby ordered that the defendants’ motion for summary judgement is granted. Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s prior denial of partial summary judgement is denied as moot. The complaint is therefore dismissed with prejudice.”

An spokesperson at Uber said: “We are pleased with the decision.”