Uber, the car service oh excuse me technology company that just makes an app and definitely does not employ drivers, is currently fighting it out in court to make sure its employees don’t legally count as employees. In its latest motion, filed Thursday, the company argues 160,000 California Uber drivers shouldn’t be able to sue as a class because they “have little or nothing in common.”
All that the drivers have in common, the company argues, is that they’ve used Uber’s app at some point in the past six years. And they’re right! Other than driving cars for a living, being underpaid and underinsured, and making a profit for Uber Technologies (Not Cars You Guys) Inc., that’s the only thing remotely similar about them.
“The reality is that drivers use Uber on their own terms: they control their use of the app,” the company said in a statement.
Uber goes on to argue that classifying drivers as employees “could force Uber to restructure its entire business model” by doing things like being liable for their accidents, reimbursing them for fuel and car repairs, and paying out for healthcare and worker’s comp. What a disaster.
And, at the same time, drivers would lose the “flexibility” of driving for multiple car services—none of which are responsible for them if something goes wrong—just so they can make ends meet, and not taking the breaks they’d be entitled to if they had an employer. Uber is looking out for them to make sure that nightmare scenario doesn’t happen.
One Uber driver in California is an employee, thanks to a ruling last month from the California Labor Commission, but that decision doesn’t apply broadly to Uber’s entire workforce—sorry, app users who drive cars. A class action proceeding would determine the status of any driver who wanted to join the suit.
An August hearing will determine whether all 160,000 drivers can sue as a class.