Thursday, July 30, 2020

SCOPA: Uber driver entitled to unemployment compensation benefits

In a 52-page 5-2 majority opinion, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (SCOPA) held that an Uber driver was entitled to unemployment compensation benefits in Lowman v. UCBR

The setup here is a common scenario - the claimant was separated from employment and collecting UC benefits. What does he do to try to make ends meet? Starts driving for Uber. The problem? Claimants are ineligible for UC benefits if they are self-employed (and, of course, Uber claims the drivers are not employees and therefore they would be independent contractors who are self-employed). 

The Court concluded that the worker was not self-employed and therefore eligible for benefits. Along the way, the Court found that:
  • "Uber controlled and directed the performance of Lowman’s services as a driver-for-hire;" and
  • "Lowman was not engaged in an independently established business."
The Court expressly declined to rule on whether Uber was Lowman's employer, which would have huge unemployment compensation tax consequences for the company. That said, the Court's ruling in Lowman certainly doesn't bode well for them. 

No comments:

Post a Comment