National Labor Relations Board rules that Uber drivers are independent contractors in the US

24 May 2019

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), a federal independent agency with responsibilities for enforcing US labor law, concluded that Uber drivers are independent contractors and not employees. The classification as independent contractors means that drivers have no right to form a union, bargain collectively, minimum wage, overtime pay among other traditional rights related to employment status. The NLRB’s decision serves as a recommendation for ruling in future cases in the US. The NLRB’s general counsel’s office based its decision on the fact that drivers are not subordinate to the ride-hailing platform and have “control of their cars, work schedules, and log-in locations, together with their freedom to work for competitors of Uber”. The NLRB released the advisory document on 21 May, a month after it was originally issued.​​

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It is frequently mentioned that the Internet is changing the way in which we work. ICTs have blurred the traditional routine of work, free time, and sleep (8+8+8 hours), especially in multinational corporation working environment. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish where work starts and where it ends. These changes in working patterns may require new labour legislation, addressing such issues as working hours, the protection of labour interests, and remuneration.

Intermediaries play a vital role in ensuring Internet functionality. In several Internet governance areas, such as copyright infringement and spam, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are considered key online intermediaries. In other areas, such as defamation and the so-called right to be forgotten, the responsibility extends to hosts of online content and search engines.


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