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Uber says drivers are independent contractors, drivers say they are employees

More and more employees in California are taking a hard look at the nature of their employment contracts.

Are they being denied benefits? Is their employer flaunting the law and not paying them formeal breaks or allowing rest time? Are they wrongly classified as independent contractors when in reality they are employees?

An Uber company driver is suing the company in federal court by invoking the Fair Labor Standards Act and alleging he is owed unpaid wages. Legal counsel is requesting that the court grant class action status to permit other drivers to join the suit.

This is not the first lawsuit of a similar nature that Uber is dealing with either. Three other drivers are making claims they are not independent contractors but rather employees and thus entitled to various benefits such as claiming expenses. In his statement of claim, Greg Fisher says he should be paid minimum wage, overtime wages (overtime must be paid after 40 hours of work per week) and other damages under the law that were not paid due to Uber classifying him as an independent contractor.

Fisher alleges he has driven for the company forstints of longer than eight hours. Of interest is that the California Labor Commission (CLC) has a decision on record that may impact Uber and other companies that utilize on-demand workers. The Commission ruled a specific Uber driver, Barbara Berwick, was indeed entitled to be paid for driving expenses, an amount of $4,152 which included toll fees she paid out while driving and a per mileage expense rate of 55 cents per mile.

The main question in these cases revolves around just how involved Uber is with its on-demand workers.According to the CLC, Uber not only approves drivers, but vets them first, dictates what cars they drive, tracks their ratings, controls the amount of money they earn by setting rates and manages driver access to the Uber application. Therefore, a driver is an Uber employee.

If you are in a questionable job situation and do not know if you are an independent contractor or not, talk to an experienced employment attorney who understands the labor laws in your jurisdiction. You may find out you are actually an employee and may be able to sue for unpaid and overtime wages that you are entitled to under the law.

Call us today at 916.486.1712 or visit

Social media employer crosses line for non-payment of overtime wages

Non-payment of overtime to workers is not just a brick-and-mortar company issue. It is also prevalent in online social media niches. 

Consider the case of LinkedIn, one of the more prominent social media platforms for connecting and finding jobs. The company recently paid out close to $6 million in back wages and damages to 359 current and former employees after an investigation. The settlement covered workers in New York, Illinois, Nebraska and California.

LinkedIn claimed that the company did not have the right tools for one sector of its workforce. While that may explain the violation, it is the employer’s responsibility to keep abreast of all rules, regulations and laws that affect their company and workforce. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

LinkedIn did not account for or record all hours worked during a week — either with or without malice or forethought, a direct violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law clearly states that non-exempt workers must be paid the federal minimum hourly wage ($7.25) for all hours worked, plus time and a half overtime for putting in more than 40 hours a week.

The company must now provide compliance training, ensure all workers are aware of its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work for all non-exempt workers/managers, insist all overtime hours be recorded and paid for and stress that retaliation in the workplace for raising employment issues is not condoned.

Call us today at 916.486.1712 or visit