With Wednesday’s decision from the California Labor Commission ruling an Uber driver was an employee of the company—and not a contractor—the quick consensus was that big changes are on their way.
Not that fast. Firstly, Uber is appealing the ruling. Secondly, the decision only applied to one driver, not all. Still, there’s concern that today’s news could set a precedent.
The company’s defense in the case was that they don’t employee people; they simply connect travelers with vehicles. The commission responded by saying Uber does a lot more than that, since they dictate who drives, how much they make, and what vehicles they can operate; therefore they were this driver’s employer.
Should a judge side with the commission and make a more expansive ruling, Uber could have to start acting like a real boss and offer benefits and protections for their employees. That sounds great for drivers, but it could come as an expense to riders (i.e., no more $2.50 lifts from LAX to Beverly Hills).
But before anyone worries that the cheap days of ride sharing are over, we are no where close to that yet. Unless, of course, Uber believes that day is coming and starts increasing prices to cushion the blow when it does. Stay tuned.