California Rules Uber Driver is Employee Not Contractor


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has ruled that a driver who worked for ride-sharing application technology provider Uber should be classified as an employee and not an independent contractor, according to a story by The New York Times.

The Times reports that the Labor Commissioner’s Office – also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) – ordered Uber to reimburse a woman who worked as a driver for approximately eight weeks $4,152.20 in expenses and costs. Uber has appealed the decision.

The Times also reports the DLSE cited several instances where Uber – which describes itself “as merely an app that connects drivers and passengers” – acted like an employer. As an employer, Uber would be required to reimburse employees for business expenses under California law.

The ruling could lead to class action lawsuits against Uber in California and other states, the Times reports, although the company stated similar cases about Uber worker classification in at least five other states “resulted in rulings that categorize drivers as contractors.”

According to the Times article, San Francisco-based Uber is now operating in more than 300 cities across six continents. A copy of the ruling by the California Labor Commissioner’s Office is available at

As reported previously on the ESR News blog, Uber has also come under fire for its policy on background checks after several drivers for the company allegedly harmed their passengers. To read ESR News blogs about Uber, visit

Employers should conduct background checks on both employees and contractors. For more information, contact Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – “The Background Check Authority®” – by calling toll free 888.999.4474 or visiting

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