On New York State’s Employee Status Ruling for New York Uber Drivers

The New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board Found Three Former Uber Drivers and Others Similarly Situated to Be Employees for Purposes of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

New York, NY: The following is a statement from Rebecca Smith, director of the work structures program at the National Employment Law Project, on the final ruling from New York State’s Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board finding three former Uber drivers and all those similarly situated to be employees for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits:

“This decision shows that Uber’s relationship with drivers is exactly like a traditional employer. It controls what car drivers use, screens them, trains them, sets their pay, assigns their work, exposes them to constant surveillance, and disciplines them for failure to meet Uber’s exacting standards. No wonder Uber tried to withdraw its appeal in this case — the decision puts the lie to any claim that these workers are in business for themselves.

“It’s worth repeating the findings of a first-ever in-depth study of transportation network companies in New York City. Uber rakes in 600 times its operation costs in New York City, while its drivers today earn less than what they did in 2014, and are paying an average of $8.54 an hour just to keep their cars on the road. Uber’s drivers work long hours, and much of their time is uncompensated: they spend almost half of every hour waiting for fares.

“It’s well past time for Uber to operate as a responsible business, pay its fair share of payroll taxes that other businesses pay, and ensure that its drivers truly have the security and opportunity the company claims to provide.”

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