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Uber and Lyft face legal test to sharing economy

Discussion in 'General Rideshare Forum' started by Dreamer, May 3, 2015.

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  1. Dreamer

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    Staff Member

    Jan 19, 2015
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    SAN FRANCISCO -- Patrick Cotter, who worked for social media titan Facebook, and Tadj Correia, a Santa Monica actor, are prototypical drivers for Uber and Lyft, moonlighting for the ridesharing services to boost their bank accounts.

    But scratch the surface, and both Cotter and Correia represent something else to a booming sector of the new tech economy -- a dark cloud over the very business model that has propelled a seemingly simple smartphone app service such as Uber into a Silicon Valley colossus now valued at more than $40 billion.

    Lyft and Uber drivers have mounted major legal challenges to that business model, arguing that they should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors, a distinction that entitles them to strong protections and benefits under California law and threatens the cost structure of the so-called sharing economy.

    Cotter, a lead plaintiff in the Lyft case who could not be reached for this story, contends in court papers he was deprived by the company known for its pink mustachio icon of everything from minimum wages to expenses such as gas and repairs for the car that he used to whisk passengers around in 2013.

    For Correia, the case is about fairness.

    "It seems lopsided to me," Correia said. "As a driver, I feel like I'm a lab rat. Disposable."

    Two San Francisco federal judges, while not ready to go that far in categorizing Uber and Lyft, this spring gave the two legal challenges a significant boost, giving the drivers the green light to take their cases to a jury trial.

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