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Uber, labor lawyer debate bid seeking class-action status for lawsuit

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 02:  In this photo illustration, a woman uses the Uber app on an Samsung smartphone on September 2, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Uber, an app that allows passenger to buy rides from drivers who do not have taxi permits, has had its UberPop freelance driver service banned in Germany after a complaint by Taxi Deutschland, a trade association of taxi drivers in the country. The company, which operates in 42 countries over 200 cities worldwide, plans to both appeal the decision made by a court in Frankfurt as well as, at the risk of heavy fines, continue its services in Germany until a final decision has been made on the matter.  (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Adam Berry/Getty Images
In this photo illustration, a woman uses the Uber app on an Samsung smartphone on September 2, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.

A court hearing is set to hear whether a group of Uber drivers can obtain class-action status for a lawsuit it filed against the e-hailing giant seeking to classify drivers as employees of the company, instead of independent contractors.

A court hearing in San Francisco is set for Thursday to hear whether a group of Uber drivers can obtain class-action status for a lawsuit it filed against the e-hailing giant seeking to classify drivers as employees of the company, instead of independent contractors.

The hearing comes two months after California’s labor commission ruled that a driver for Uber must be considered an employee. Uber is appealing that decision, which applies only to one individual driver.

If class-action status is granted in this week’s hearing, plaintiffs would be able to pool together resources and gain more leverage in negotiating settlements.

The case is closely watched by other tech companies that rely on independent contractors for labor. An employee designation would mean a guaranteed minimum wage for Uber drivers, mileage compensation, and Social Security benefits. Lyft, another e-hailing service, faces a similar lawsuit.

DOUGLAS O’CONNOR, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC., et al., Defendants.

Guests:

David Plouffe, Senior Advisor at Uber. He was the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign

Caroline Fredrickson, labor attorney, president of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and author of "Under The Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over"

Harry Campbell, a driver for Uber and Lyft and runs “TheRideShareGuy.com”

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