The US Supreme Court on May 17 declined to hear what would have been its first foray into the proper classification of gig economy workers, Reuters reported.
Human cloud, ride-sharing firm Uber Technologies Inc. had appealed to the Supreme Court the revival of a case in which UberBlack drivers in Philadelphia allege they were misclassified as independent contractors.
The Third US Circuit Court of Appeals court held in March 2020 that a federal district court had incorrectly determined the drivers were not employees as a matter of law. The appeals court said while UberBlack drivers set their own schedules and have some ability to select passengers, a judge or jury must determine if Uber still maintains the right to control several aspects of their work and their opportunities for profit. The appeals court ruling reversed the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s summary judgment in Uber’s favor in 2018.
A company’s control over a worker is a major factor in determining whether an employee or a contractor relationship exists.
The case applies to UberBlack drivers in Pennsylvania and only has precedential value in the circuit, which includes New Jersey and Delaware. But legal observers say the case could have broad impact, as it may test the fundamental framework of the rideshare company’s workforce model.
The case will return to the Third Circuit for further litigation, Reuters reported.
The case is Razak, et al. v. Uber Technologies.