Uber Circumventing Labor Regulations with Self-driving Cars?

March 27, 2018

In what’s known as the “gig economy” – in which contracted workers, regarded in legal terms as “self-employed” – minimum-wage regulations don’t apply. In a clever workaround of hard-won legal protections for laborers, those who participate in the gig economy are understood, in legal terms, to enter of their own accord into a mutually agreed upon contract with a company, such as Uber.

But last year a court in North Carolina ruled in favor of Uber drivers in a class-action lawsuit. The ruling allowed the drivers – throughout the United States – to be classified as employees, rather than contracted workers. The drivers’ lawyer, Paul Maslo, is quoted in The New York Times after that victory: “The ruling today is going to allow drivers across the country to band together to challenge Uber’s misclassification of them. They are employees and should be getting minimum wage and overtime as required by federal law.” And some cities, such as Seattle and New York, are allowing Uber drivers to form collective bargaining groups.

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