What have the Courts Decided about Uber and Lyft Drivers as Employees?

Following several years of drivers organizing and advocates fighting in the courts, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman made a historic decision on August 10, 2020 when he granted a preliminary injunction that will require Uber and Lyft to finally treat their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, pending further action in the litigation.

We thought it would be good to provide a look back on legal decisions in the last six months finding gig companies to be employers under various state laws. Much of the discussions in the decisions are relevant in other contexts, on the “control” factors and the factor of whether workers are in the usual course of a an employer’s business.


The following are legal decisions in the last six months that found gig companies to be employers under various state laws:

Of course, Uber has said it will appeal the court’s decision, and has threatened to leave California until after voters decide its deeply harmful Proposition 22. Its threat puts the lie to any concern it claims to have about job loss and worker well-being—it is saying it will lay off tens of thousands of workers unless judges and voters give it what it wants.


Since the decision is chock full of quotes that show the court’s disbelief with the positions taken by Uber and Lyft, we thought these slides might be useful.

Workers are organizing, fighting and winning in California and elsewhere. We are proud to stand with groups like Gig Workers Rising, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Working Washington, Rideshare Drivers United, Gig Workers Collective, Peoples’ Lobby, and the Boston Independent Drivers’ Guild, and inspired by the bravery of their members.

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About the Author

Rebecca Smith

Director of Work Structures, National Employment Law Project

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