Give Uber Drivers Employee Status

Target: Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber

Goal: Protect drivers from discrimination and low pay by granting them employee status.

In a recent settlement, it was not decided whether Uber drivers should be considered employees or independent contractors. Employee status would give many protections to the drivers to prevent them from being taken advantage of. These drivers meet the criteria of employee status, and should be officially recognized as employees.

The difference between employees and independent contractors includes whether the worker is engaged in an occupation separate and distinct from that of the principal company, who provides the tools for performing the work, and whether the work requires a special skill. The drivers are a core part of Uber’s business, the drivers were provided iPhones in order to do their business, and driving from place to place is not a special skill.

If the drivers are granted employee status, they are guaranteed protections and benefits that independent contractors are not necessarily entitled to. These protections include: minimum wage, overtime, meal breaks, reimbursement of business expenses, anti-discrimination laws, workers’ compensation benefits, and unemployment benefits.

Some say that the settlement is enough, that the drivers will be compensated and given new rights. They indeed do have new rights, such as tips and warnings before getting fired, but they are not as extensive as the rights that employee status grants them. Also, most of the drivers will not get much compensation. If a driver only drove 750 miles or less, they will receive as little as $24. They will have to drive more than 25,000 miles to get $8,000. This also depends on how many drivers file to take part in the settlement. If the majority of drivers take part, then the amount received shrinks even more.

The settlement is not enough to cover the fair treatment of Uber’s drivers. Sign this petition to make sure that the drivers are protected by employee status.


Dear Mr. Kalanick,

Uber’s settlement with its drivers is not enough. They are not given as many rights as employee status would grant them, and most of them will not see much of the settlement money. The rights of your workers are more important than profit.

Your drivers meet the criteria for employee status: they are not distinct from Uber’s main business, they are provided with tools to do their job, and they do not exhibit a special skill. With employee status, they are protected by minimum wage, reimbursement, anti-discrimination laws, workers’ compensation benefits, and unemployment benefits. Your business is more likely to expand if your workers are being treated fairly. Please give Uber drivers employee status.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Mark Warner

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