Uber and other gig economy companies are getting encouraging opinions from federal agencies on the use of independent contractors.
In an advice memo released this month, the National Labor Relations Board’s associate general counsel said Uber drivers are independent contractors, not employees of the company, under the National Labor Relations Act. This follows the Department of Labor’s opinion letter from April that said gig economy workers can’t be considered employees. Taken together, the agencies are reinforcing Uber and similar companies’ contractor-based business models at a time when they’re beset by misclassification lawsuits.
Drivers for Uber are independent contractors because of the amount of“entrepreneurial opportunity” they enjoy, according to NLRB Associate General Counsel Jayme Sophir. Sophir relied on SuperShuttle DFW, Inc, a decision the NLRB issued in January that brought back the board’s “common-law agency” test. The test weighs 10 factors in the company-service provider relationship to determine how much professional flexibility the service provider has.