A federal judge at a Brazilian higher court for labour has ruled that there is no employer-employee relationship between Uber and its drivers. His argument was that the drivers have the option to disconnect from the app at any time and their work schedule offers them a lot of flexibility.
While the federal court’s ruling is not binding, it will certainly set the standard. Naturally, the ruling was a welcome relief for the ride-hailing service that had always maintained that its platform is simply a digital intermediary, and that drivers choose to associate with it after accepting the same and putting their signatures to this condition.
According to the federal labour judge, the drivers enjoy a lot of flexibility in terms of the number of rides they offer and the areas they agree to drive to. And this, is not how an employer-employee relationship works, and that it was more of a partnership. The drivers take home anything between 75 to 80 per cent of the total fare, which itself proves it is more like a partnership.
Uber has always maintained that its drivers are independent contractors, because they are in business for their own gains. Therefore, they are not eligible for benefits, such as overtime, health insurance cover or minimum wage protections. However, many Uber drivers have tried contesting this categorisation saying that Uber’s model of business has too much control on them. Many have attempted dragging the Company to court, but have ended up being pushed to private arbitration.