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Uber Claims Drivers NOT Essential To Their Business

After legislators in California passed a groundbreaking piece of legislation that will require companies to reclassify contract workers as employees in certain situations, Uber has started to started to insist that the law won’t apply to Uber drivers because they aren’t a core part of its business.

On a conference call with media Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, stated that drivers are not a core part of the company’s standard business operations. He said that “Drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces.”

This feels like a flashback to one of Uber’s favorite defenses of its service: it’s just a platform. So to put it simply drivers are customers of that platform same as riders, Uber is just the thing that connects them.

In order to back his position West rolled out “several previous rulings” that he claimed asserted that drivers do fall outside of the scope of Uber’s standard business. It should be mentioned that those rulings included 2 decisions made in arbitration, a process that forgoes an actual trial in court for a private conflict-resolution process that is almost always stacked in favor of the interests of corporations rather than individuals.

It is more than clear that Uber is trying position itself as a technology company rather than a transportation company, as if it is entirely impossible to be both.

Uber has been using for years the “technology platform” argument to justify the fact that its drivers are not required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As we know the ADA requires transportation providers to accommodate wheelchairs if the equipment can fit into the vehicle.

However according to Uber, it is not a transportation provider and doesn’t need to ensure its drivers can support riders with disabilities. Lyft more or less is following the same path.

So are drivers essential to Uber’s business? The answer is of course they are. This is evident by the fact that Uber’s revenues are heavily reliant on ridesharing services. The vast majority of Uber’s revenue comes from siphoning 25% off the top of each ride completed through its service.