Gig News: Swiss Agency Finds Uber Driver Is Employee

Jon Weinberg

Jon Weinberg is a student at Harvard Law School.

The public agency in Switzerland charged with providing obligatory on-the-job accident insurance, Suva, has determined that an Uber driver in that country is an employee – meaning Uber will have to pay social security contributions on that driver’s behalf.  Swiss broadcaster SRF reports that the agency found that the Uber driver’s case clearly had the characteristics of an employment relationship under Swiss law.  Like in the United States, Uber’s “comprehensive control” over drivers was critical to the determination of employee status, since Uber drivers cannot set their own prices and face consequences for deviating from Uber rules and directives.

According to TechCrunch, Uber stressed that the decision pertains to an individual driver and that it plans to appeal, although the decision can serve as precedent and Switzerland’s Federal Council may create new rules for technology service providers.

The decision in Switzerland represents the third significant European challenge to Uber’s classification of drivers as independent contractors.  In October, a British employment tribunal found that Uber drivers are not self-employed independent contractors, but rather Uber workers.  And in November, the European Court of Justice heard arguments in a pending case asserting Uber should be classified as a transportation service subject to strict European labor laws.

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.