The Lead

Pa. Supreme Court rules that Uber driver is not a contractor; is eligible for unemployment

By: - July 24, 2020 4:01 pm

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 18: A pedestrian walks by a sign in front of the Uber headquarters on May 18, 2020 in San Francisco, California. Uber announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs and shutter or consolidate 40 offices around the world due to severely declining business as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. The cuts come two weeks after Uber cut 3,700 employees. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In a 5-2 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Friday that an Uber driver did not forfeit eligibility for unemployment benefits by starting to drive for the tech giant.

The ruling could have far-reaching consequences for gig workers, as previously reported by the Capital-Star.

Amid pandemic, gig workers’ jobless benefits at center of upcoming state court decision

The majority opinion, by Justice Kevin Dougherty and backed by the court’s four other Democratic justices, says that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but, rather that, “Uber controlled and directed the performance of … services as a driver-for-hire.”

Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, who was elected as a Republican, made two observations of note in his dissenting opinion.


The decision backs up a ruling by the state’s Commonwealth Court, which is controlled by judges elected as Republicans.

This story was reported by Capital-Staff Reporter Stephen Caruso. It was aggregated and edited by Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek.

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