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NYC regulators consider Uber drivers as freelancers: report

A pedestrian hails a Uber taxi on 5th

A pedestrian hails a Uber taxi on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

With Uber facing scrutiny in the city over how it operates and whether it contributes to traffic congestion, at least it can be assured that local regulators consider its drivers as freelancers and not employees. 

Taxi and Limousine Commission Chairwoman Meera Joshi told Bloomberg Television that the city believes in "driver flexibility." 

"We have wholeheartedly supported driver flexibility as independent contractors when we allow them, much to the consternation of the industry, to drive for several bases," she said in the interview on Tuesday. 

This must make Uber officials at least sigh with some relief, following a ruling by the California Labor Commission last month that a company driver must be considered an employee. 

That decision means Uber Technologies Inc. could be on the hook in California for such expenses as unemployment insurance and other benefits that employees typically enjoy. That would upend its model of using freelancers to grow its $50-billion business. 

Joshi told Bloomberg that if a court were to decide otherwise, however, "then our position would change."  


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