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O'Connor v. Uber Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
82 F. Supp. 3d 1133 (2015)


Facts

Upon being hired, drivers for Uber Technologies, Inc. (defendant) signed a contract with Uber stating that the drivers were independent contractors. Uber drivers used their own vehicles and were required under the contract to dress professionally. Drivers were paid a fee for each ride they completed. The passenger’s fare—which was set unilaterally by Uber—was paid directly to Uber, and Uber then passed the fee onto the driver. Generally, drivers were permitted to drive as much or as little as they wanted, although the Uber handbook stated the expectation that drivers accept all ride requests when logged in. The handbook also covered when to send the passenger a text message pre-ride, what types of radio stations to play, and other specifics of the job. Uber claimed that these specifics were merely suggestions. O’Connor (plaintiff) brought a putative class action on behalf of Uber drivers, seeking a judgment that the drivers were Uber employees. Uber argued that drivers were independent contractors. The parties disputed whether Uber could terminate drivers at will. Uber filed a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Chen, J.)

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