uber.jpgUber, the car service that’s sweeping the globe, is facing one of the biggest challenges of its young life but workers everywhere should take notice, not just Wall Street.

A California court recently deemed one of its drivers an employee and not an independent contractor, and that means the driver may now be eligible for everything from minimum wage to expenses reimbursement.

This from a Bloomberg article on the ruling:

The ruling by the agency headed by Commissioner Julie Su, an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown, was filed in San Francisco state court Tuesday. It stemmed from a wage and reimbursement dispute.

“The defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the commission said in the decision, filed alongside Uber’s appeal notice. “The reality, however, is that defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.”

Indeed, when you look at who is legally deemed an employee not just in California, but according to federal statutes, Uber, and other similar firms, seem to be utilizing workers as if they were employees but calling them contractors.

The growing use of independent contractors has been a concern among many labor advocates who see this business model and mainly as a way for companies to get out of basic state and federal labor laws. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich calls it the “Share-the-Scraps Economy.” (more…)