Uber Legal Issues Might Go Long Way In Defining Sharing Economy, Investor’s Business Daily, ft. Tad A. Devlin

Posted Feb 4, 2016

Tad A. Devlin was quoted in an Investor’s Business Daily article by Richard Acello on February 2, 2016.

Uber, the popular ride-sharing service for the new sharing economy, continues to drive into legal problems with the old economy. Uber is being sued by drivers who have formed a class action so that they can be regarded as employees, in Douglas O’Connor et al v. Uber Technologies Inc., filed in U.S. District Court for Northern California. The suit has a long way to go, but it could involve as many as 160,000 drivers.

It is a tough call at this point, which way a jury trial would go,” said Tad Devlin, a partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck in San Francisco who specializes in the sharing economy. But he says a pretrial settlement is likely.

An Uber settlement or trial would almost certainly have to decide the question of whether Uber drivers are “employees, quasi employees, independents or simply Ubers, which is what I call a new modern sharing economy hybrid employee,” Devlin said.

In a landscape where the arrangements for business/worker relationships are fluid, Devlin says one answer might come in the form of a regulatory scheme that would address this new type of independent employee.

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