Think Uber employee issues don’t affect your business? Think again

By January 29, 2016

Tampa Bay Business Journal

The problem of classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor took on new life in the latest lawsuit against ridesharing company Uber brought by several Tampa-based drivers.

How do they comply with murky laws and regulations about classifying workers in an era of so much change in the workplace?

“Certainly, there’s been an uptick in these types of lawsuits,” said Michael Landen, a partner with Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine, who specializes in labor and employment law. Landen, who represents a large transportation company whose drivers are suing for overtime pay, regularly counsels business clients on this issue.

“If there is a close call, we tell them to treat them as an employee to be safe or make sure people are working less than 40 hours a week,” he said.

In the Tampa suit, four drivers from Hillsborough County are seeking class action status in federal court in the Middle District of Florida against Uber Technologies Inc. They are challenging, “Uber’s uniform policy of willfully misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors, when, in fact, each such driver is and/or was an employee of Uber,” they said in the suit.

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