Support through your toughest HR challenges: A network of 285,000 HR professionals.
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) Commissioner Brad Avakian, in
an advisory opinion issued Oct. 14, 2015, said Uber drivers are employees rather than independent contractors because they work for the company’s benefit and they’re economically dependent on the ride-hailing company.
The opinion is not binding. State regulators can only sanction Uber if a driver files a formal complaint and regulators review evidence and legal arguments specific to that person’s situation. The agency admits that “no case relevant to this question has been filed with BOLI” but states that it intends the advisory opinion to be “instructive to all interested parties.”
According to Avakian, drivers are employees under the Oregon economic realities test, which considers six factors:
The opinion concludes that the six factors “illustrate how Uber drivers are not operating their own separate businesses with the degree of autonomy one expects with an independent contractor. To the contrary, the rigorous hiring process, the highly controlled directions as to how work is to be performed and at what price, the expectation of long-term employment, the insignificant investment of the driver when compared to the massive infrastructure provided by Uber, and the integral nature of the driver’s work to the business are all characteristic of an employment relationship.”
Uber officials disagree with the opinion. In a statement, Uber said BOLI had only a very brief discussion with an Uber manager and no conversations with Uber drivers. Uber contends that many of its drivers don’t even work half-time—and they “value the independence and flexibility: the ability to work whenever and wherever they choose.”
Uber called the opinion “full of assertions that are plain wrong.”
Litigation concerning the status of Uber drivers as employees or independent contractors is pending in California and Pennsylvania.
Joanne Deschenaux, J.D., is SHRM’s senior legal editor.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Member Discounts Program
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies