Uber really doesn’t want its drivers to be considered employees

Enlarge (credit: DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO—A three-judge panel at the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to lean in favor of Uber in a case that could have a profound impact on the future of employment and gig economy startups.

On Wednesday, the court heard a consolidated appeal of a number of 11 pending cases that essentially boil down to the same issue: should drivers be considered employees? If so, can they sue as part of a class-action lawsuit? If Uber prevails, drivers will be considered contractors—and they won’t, as is currently the case, receive numerous benefits.

When prospective drivers sign up with Uber, they agree to waive their right to sue in favor of arbitration, a private, quasi-legal process that generally favors corporations over individuals.

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