Uber, Lyft, Doordash, and other ride-sharing/delivery apps are spending a lot of time in court these days. At issue is the status of drivers -- are they independent contractors, as Uber and others insist, or are they employees?
The difference could cost the companies billions.
Last week, the U.K.'s Supreme Court dealt a blow to Uber, in ruling that a group of former drivers were entitled to minimum wage and other benefits, effectively granting the plaintiffs "employment status." As expected, Uber appealed the decision, but it's unclear where the appeal will get them - the U.K. Supreme Court is not obligated to hear the case again.
The U.K.'s decision only applies to the drivers who filed the case, not the entire labor pool. But the precedent appears to be set, and it follows many similar decisions being made across Europe. Reclassifying drivers as employees would essentially ruin Uber's business model, and create exorbitant new costs. It could also hurt future earnings, and thus impact the stock's performance.
Even still, while victories for labor accumulate in Europe, drivers have had less luck in the United States. In last fall's election, voters in California sided with Uber, Lyft, and Instacart in allowing them to continue their contract-work systems. It's clear that tension between workers and companies driving the gig economy are poised to continue.
So what does this mean for the stocks of major players like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash? Tickeron's Artificial Intelligence, A.I.dvisor, has some answers below.