NLRB GENERAL COUNSEL – UBER DRIVERS ARE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS
The issue of independent contractor versus employee continues to be raised in workplace disputes. Recently, the Office of the General Counsel at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued an advice memorandum concluding that Uber drivers are independent contractors with entrepreneurial independence and thus are not employees for purposes of protection under the federal law of the National Labor Relations Act.
General Counsel memos are issued to NLRB field offices and/or offices in Washington DC to provide policy guidance. They do not have the weight of a court ruling and could be reversed later under a subsequent General Counsel. However, for now this is the policy guidance to their offices.
This issue of classification for “gig” workers and whether they have protections under the federal and state laws that apply to “employees” is one that we will very likely see raised more as workers in the “gig” economy continue to grow.