A lawsuit brought forward by three Uber drivers in California has been granted class action status, meaning it now represents all 160,000 drivers in the state.
The lawsuit argues Uber should pay drivers for petrol and other expenses, effectively reclassifying them as employees rather than contractors, as The Verge reports.
Uber claimed the trio of drivers shouldn’t represent all drivers in the area and presented testimonial from 400 others saying they wanted to remain independent, but this was rebuffed by the judge as “statistically insignificant”.
The contractors vs employees debate is a major controversy surrounding Uber and other startups operating in the sharing economy.
Reclassifying independent contracts as employees would grant them all the protections that go along with it.
A similar case has been unfolding against transportation network startup Lyft in San Francisco.
An Uber spokesperson told The Verge the company will “most likely appeal the decision”.