Last week, Uber lost a round in a major legal battle against former drivers when it failed to stop a lawsuit from receiving class-action status, but it looks like news from another case may have quietly slipped by. Reuters reports that the California Employment Development Department ruled in August that a former Uber driver in Southern California was an employee, not, as Uber contends, an independent contractor.
Uber lost on two appeals
The case went under the radar until a lawyer on another Uber case posted documents online. This now makes three cases — one in Florida, and one other in California — where individual Uber drivers have been ruled to be employees. Significantly, though, as Reuters points out, Uber has already appealed this case twice, unlike the other cases. The company had both of those appeals rejected.
"The only aspect of the trip left to the rider's discretion was the route," according to the ruling on the second appeal, from the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. "Even in those cases, if the claimant had deviated from the suggested route by the appellants applications, she might need to explain the reasons."
Uber downplayed the significance of the ruling, telling Reuters that the case "does not have any wider impact or set any formal or binding precedent."