An Uber Headache? 2 Drivers Awarded Unemployment

Which means the NY Labor Department considers them employees
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2016 9:47 AM CDT
A driver for ride-hailing company Uber.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
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(Newser) – Uber has been fighting tooth and nail to keep its drivers classified as independent contractors rather than employees, with success. Now, a speed bump in New York: The state's Department of Labor in August and September ruled that two Uber drivers are eligible for unemployment payments, the New York Times has learned. That's a benefit extended to only those workers determined to be employees, which was the conclusion the department came to in these instances.

A rep for the department tells the Times "unemployment determinations are made on a case-by-case basis," meaning the ruling does not extend to all other former Uber drivers in the state who may seek unemployment; she added that past similar cases have ended with the opposite ruling. Still, Fast Company notes the ruling could be used as ammunition "to argue in other arenas that Uber is an employer, which would disrupt its business model by requiring Uber to pay into social safety net programs on behalf of its workers and to follow other labor laws." (Read more Uber stories.)

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