As legal challenges pile up, a government embarked on it may come in time for Uber and its ride-sharing model.
Uber driver Harouna Kaba protests during a September rally in New York City (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)For Uber, Donald Trump’s election may not come too soon. Last Tuesday, as protesters across hundreds of US cities called for a raise of the minimum wage to $ 15, they counted a new group of workers in their ranks: Uber driver. In about twenty cities, drivers leave their cars idle and ignore ride requests as they parade with fast food workers, airport staff and housekeepers, demanding an increase in evening wages. Federal minimums and better working standards from their employers. Legally, Uber drivers are their own employers, as Uber has firmly insisted that they provide a platform for connecting customers and independent contractors – nothing. than.
Tuesday is a big day for Uber. When hundreds of drivers in the states left their cars to march, the company’s lawyers had to head to the highest court of the European Union to argue that it should not be subject to the same stringent regulations. with taxi operators in EU member countries.
Looks like this will be a first for a carpooling passion. Legal challenges are piling up globally. Uber is currently faced about 70 lawsuits only in the United States, and has met many legal barriers in foreign countries – and this is the first time someone has taken such high court. Similar questions have been posed to Uber since its inception today: is it a pure tech company? Or in a way, is it responsible for the drivers that use its platform? As Uber fights the worldwide challenges of its autonomy, the company may find an unexpected ally near home: Donald Trump and a government that tends to leave businesses alone.
It’s been two years since Uber started losing its position in Europe to regulators. The company has been operating a low-cost, unlicensed service called UberPOP in Spain for several months when, on December 9, 2014, a Madrid judge ruled that the company was unfairly competing. and will have to suspend its activities. Uber Discuss that the ban “was inconsistent with widespread political acknowledgment in Spain and across the European Union about the benefits of sharing economy services”, but it was forced to suspend the service in Spain a few weeks later.
It was just one of many legal battles that Uber was fighting on the continent at the time. From 2014 to 2015, UberPOP was banned in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy, among others. Uber has taken a similar approach to roll out its services abroad like in the US, operating in a legal gray zone and hoping for the best – but the opposition it’s getting at The EU is very fierce.
“It’s a very sensitive issue in the EU,” said Damien Geradin, a Brussels-based attorney who has followed Uber’s legal battles closely in Europe. “It created a lot of tension because the taxi unions are very strong; because governments are afraid. Young professionals love Uber, and local governments and governments ask to allow Uber … but on the other hand, you have people who tend to [averse] for large American corporations that in their opinion could destroy jobs, social security, etc. “
More than a month before the December ruling in Madrid, an anti-Uber wave in Spain brought a similar case to court in Barcelona. The question is whether Uber is competing unfairly by evading the regulations that apply to private taxis and rental cars. The judge in that case asked for guidance from the European Court of Justice, which closely resembles a state case in the United States moving to the Supreme Court: Any decision made by the highest court of Europe’s rollout will be established, once and for all, how Uber must perform in EU member states.