You Can Drive Me to the Bar, But You Can't Join a Union

Uber drivers Unite? Not so fast says the National Labor Relations Board which recently stated that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees for purposes of federal labor laws. The statement was made in an advisory memoranda from the NLRB’s general counsel. The memo relied upon the fact that Uber drivers use their own vehicles, set their own hours, and are free to work for the company’s competitors. While the decision impacts Uber (and similar workers) ability to unionize, it will not have a significant impact on the dozens of lawsuits which are pending against the drive-share companies for allegedly misclassifying employees as independent contractors and failing to properly pay the individuals.

The recent decision serves as a reminder to employers that employment laws are ever-changing. Employers must be mindful that they need to comply with all aspects of labor and employment law and ensure that their workers are properly classified and paid. If employers fail to adhere to the law, they will be subject to more than a bad Uber rating and a chatty driver, but significant potential liability.