Uber is standing its ground in Brazil, rejecting a ruling by a Brazilian labor court that ordered the ride-hailing giant to pay a hefty fine of 1 billion reais (approximately $205 million) for alleged irregular working relationships with drivers using its platform.
The ruling, delivered by a Sao Paulo state court, carries additional directives, including Uber being required to acknowledge employment relationships with all its drivers on the app and register their professional work cards. Failure to comply with this registration would result in a penalty of 10,000 reais for each unregistered worker.
The legal battle began in November 2021 when a lawsuit was filed with Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office. The lawsuit accused Uber of exerting control over how drivers carried out their work, thereby constituting an employment relationship.
In response to the court’s decision, Uber has stated its intent to appeal the ruling. The company emphasized that it will not implement any of the measures outlined in the sentence until all available legal avenues have been exhausted.
Uber’s stance is rooted in the perceived legal ambiguity surrounding the case. The company cited past legal precedents involving similar platforms, including Lalamove, Loggi, Ifood, and taxi app 99, as examples of the legal complexities surrounding the classification of gig economy workers.
This dispute highlights the ongoing challenges and debates surrounding the employment status of gig workers, not only in Brazil but in many regions worldwide. The outcome of this case could set a precedent for how gig economy platforms navigate labor laws and regulations in the future.