The original finding, and the decisions that supported it, stated that the ruling applied not just to the three drivers, but also to all those “similarly situated”—language that threatens a business model built on classifying drivers as independent contractors not entitled to benefits.
But while Uber lost this battle, it is not at entirely clear what that loss will mean.
“The Department of Labor needs to do the right thing and get Uber to contribute its fair share and not make these individual Uber drivers go through all kinds of hoops” to get their benefits, Salk said in an interview.
The Department of Labor did not respond to requests for comment.
Uber says it withdrew its appeal because the decision is not as far-reaching as it sounds.
“We disagree with the decision but have decided not to further pursue an appeal because this case only relates to three drivers,” a spokesman said in a statement. “Multiple federal courts have deemed black-car drivers—which include Uber driver partners—to be independent contractors.”
Salk responded that the black-car decision does not apply to the issue of unemployment insurance.
The Department of Labor and the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board both found that when it comes to unemployment benefits, the issue is who is controlling the relationship, she explained.