A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit proceeding in San Francisco against Uber to get drivers reclassified as employees instead of independent contractors can move forward as a class action. This means that despite Uber's protests that its 160,000 California drivers are too different to represent a single class, at least one judge disagrees, and all 160,000 drivers of UberX, Uber Black, and Uber SUV vehicles employed since 2009 can potentially join the suit. As the SF Business Times reports, though, Uber will likely be immediately appealing the decision, and this will move to a higher court to settle.
As discussed earlier, reclassifying drivers as employees has the potential to cost Uber $209 million in California alone, and will have swift repercussions in the rest of the country.
This lawsuit originally began with only four drivers as plaintiffs, however a labor attorney for the four, Shannon Liss-Riordan, has said, "It doesn't make sense that if there's a violation of law here, the only drivers who can be compensated are the ones who go hire their own lawyer and bring their own case."
Meanwhile, a similar lawsuit against Lyft that is simultaneously moving through the court could face a similar fate not to mention other reported suits against other "gig economy"/"sharing economy" businesses Instacart, Caviar, and Postmates.
In an earlier ruling, the California Labor Commission has already said that Uber drivers, who form the revenue-generating backbone of the company, should be considered employees.