By Doug Towns
Employers that rely primarily on independent contractors continue to come under scrutiny. Recently, an Uber driver, Barbara Anna Berwick, brought a suit under California law arguing that she should be reimbursed for various expenses, including tolls and parking tickets, associated with her personal car that she used to carry Uber customers. Contending that the driver was an independent contractor, not an employee, Uber argued it did not have to reimburse her for these expenses. Ultimately, a California Hearing Officer concluded that the driver was an employee, at least for purposes of getting reimbursement. Uber Technologies, Inc. v. Berwick, No. 11-46739 (Cal. Lab. Comm’n June 3, 2015). The key fact was that the driver provided the very service that Uber provides – transportation.
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