Oregon BOLI Labels Uber Drivers "Employees" Not "Contractors"

Oct 14, 2015

Oregon labor officials consider drivers in transportation networks, like Uber and Lyft, to be "employees" of those companies, not independent contractors.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries concluded the drivers are employees, after reviewing six factors, including a worker's ability to profit or lose money, and how long the job is expected to last. Brad Avakian is the state labor commissioner, and a declared candidate for Secretary of State.

"I'm hoping that Uber takes this advisory opinion as helpful, so they can see how Oregon law could be applied to their relationship, and then acts accordingly," Avakian said.

But Uber officials say the opinion is wrong, and results from a brief interview with an Uber manager. Uber contends many of its drivers don't even work half-time - and they appreciate the independence and flexibility.

Where BOLI and Uber agree is that the opinion is only advisory, and doesn't dictate how labor officials might rule on an actual complaint.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting.