Uber Drivers & Tax

Early in June 2015, a California labor commissioner, of the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, in San Francisco, in wage/labor dispute has found that a driver that is associated with Uber is an employee rather than an independent contractor.

Of course, has written here once before, that in an engaged business relationship is whether there is an independent contractor or an employer/employee depends if there is respondeat superior, which is if there is command and control by one person over another then there is an employer/employee relationship.

One comment that the labor commissioner made on this case regarding Uber is that

. . . an employee/employer relationship will be found if [Uber] retain pervasive control over the operation as a whole, [then] the worker’s duties are an integral part of the operation, and the nature of the work makes detailed control unnecessary.

The labor commissioner went further:

. . . the minimal degree of control the employer exercised over the details of the work was not considered dispositive because the work did not require a high degree of skill [i.e. driving people to and fro] and it was an integral part of [Uber’s] business. The employer was thus determined to be exercising all necessary control over the operation as a whole.

In other words what this case regarding Uber’s drivers is not whether there is direct command and control on the part of Uber, but whether Uber was essentially in control, due to the fact that it was Uber was providing the clientele for its drivers. Just a further note, Uber did file an appeal in California superior court, to see if this “essential control” doctrine that the labor commissioner found and applied to Uber will be upheld as part of California labor law.

In the meantime, if you are an Uber driver, please contact us and we would be more than happy to look at this labor commissioner’s ruling further to see if you should be an independent contractor or an employee with Uber. In addition, we shall continue to monitor this case, as it is being appealed to a California superior court.