The transportation company Uber has been in the news a fair amount recently, as the drivers that make up Uber's workforce have been taking action to be classified as employees instead of their current classification as independent contractors. Such a change in classification would have many positive effects for Uber drivers, such as entitling them to benefits like workers' compensation and various other employee rights. Of course this increase in benefits would also cost a great deal of money for Uber, which is likely part of the reason that Uber is fighting not to have drivers classified as employees.
Up until now, Uber has argued that its classification of drivers is correct because even though drivers must attend training, the content of this training is not uniform for every driver. This means that the drivers cannot be looked at as a class but on a case-by-case basis. Recently, a federal court judge in San Francisco determined that the drivers were entitled to class action status, giving them a significant boost to their claims.
While most employment is good, there are many benefits to being classified as an employee instead of an independent contractor, particularly in California. In addition to federal laws that grant employees various rights, California also has state-specific laws that exist to ensure employees receive proper benefits and have a right to be treated well, safe from discrimination or harassment in their place of work.
As you can see, the rights and benefits of being an employee are serious enough to take legal action for many people, which is why those who are employees in California should not take their status for granted or be afraid to make use of their status. If you are being mistreated or harassed in your place of work, you may wish to contact an attorney who can help protect your rights and ensure that your employer is not acting illegally.
Source: Dispatch Times, "Uber lawsuit in California over drivers rights gets class action status," Sep. 7, 2015