Uber will not treat its California drivers as employees, the ride-hail company’s head lawyer said Wednesday, despite a new law designed to do just that. The law would create a more stringent test to separate independent contractors from full-time employees. The company’s argument rests on a premise that’s been a cornerstone since its early days: that Uber is a technology company, not a transportation one. The California law, called Assembly Bill 5, reaffirms a 2018 California Supreme Court decision that established a three-part test to separate independent contractors from employees, who are eligible for minimum wage, health care benefits, workers’ compensation, and other protections. A worker is only an independent contractor if she is not under the control or direction of the company while she’s working; if her work is “outside the usual course” of the company’s business; and if she is “customarily engaged” in the same kind of work that she does for the company. This three-part test is already in limited use in Massachusetts and New York. Uber has reason to be worried about the new law, which is awaiting the signature of Governor Gavin Newsom. Analysts with Barclays have estimated that the law would cost Uber $3,625… Read full this story
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