In a major ruling today, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen allowed a lawsuit by California Uber drivers seeking employee status to proceed as a class action. Forbes summarized the ruling and its significance:
Tuesday’s ruling means that Uber drivers, as a group, can now challenge the company on their main complaint: that they are actually employees of Uber and therefore should be allowed to move forward with their claim that they are entitled to tips. The judge held off on granting class-certification related to other expenses like gas and vehicle maintenance, though that could change in the future. The decision applies to California drivers on UberX and UberBlack who joined before June 2014, so does not apply to drivers who work for a third-party company or newer drivers.
According to CNET, Judge Chen’s decision was not expected for months. The case will be tried before a jury next year, and given the class action status it has the potential to upend Uber’s business model. Stay tuned to OnLabor’s coverage of the gig economy for more on the suit and other news surrounding the classification of gig economy workers.