Discussion: Chapter 12: Employment Law and Agency

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Business Law class: 

Your textbook discusses the issue of the "Uber Independent Contractor."  This is still a live issue.  On June 18, 2019, for instance, San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman posted a Facebook status about his request for a hearing on the current state of workers rights in California's gig economy, in the context of the 2019 Assembly Bill 5 ("AB5"), which was ultimately signed into law on September 18, 2019. 

12A Assembly Bill 5 Passed Vox Article.pdfPreview the document

Facebook Status: 12B Rafael Mandelman Facebook Status.pdfPreview the document

Questions -- 

1. Based on his Facebook status, do you think that San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman supports or opposes Uber's classification of its drivers as independent contractors?  And upon what basis does he so believe?

2. Under the "ABC" test based on the 2018 Dynamex decision, to hire an independent contractor, businesses must prove that the worker (a) is free from the company’s control, (b) is doing work that isn’t central to the company’s business, and (c) has an independent business in that industry.  Otherwise, the person being hired is an employee.  But even after AB5 was passed by the California legislature, Uber still maintains that its drivers are independent contracters. Uber maintains that it has no plans to reclassify its drivers as employees, arguing that the usual course of Uber's business is defined as "serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces" and that drivers should thus not be considered employees.  Uber has also long argued that because it connects drivers to customers with an app, Uber is fundamentally a technology company, not a transportation company. 

Do you think Uber is correct?  Based on the "ABC" test, explain whether Uber's "gig workers" should be classified as independent contractors or employees.

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