Uber drivers could soon be considered Uber employees, and that could get expensive

Uber drivers may finally be recognized as official Uber employees — and that could be uber-costly.

Officials in New York have ultimately ruled in favor of three former Uber drivers who filed a federal complaint against the transportation giant when their unemployment insurance claims were not accepted. This led to a two-year standoff that has called into question exactly how Uber classifies its extensive army of drivers. This week the New York State Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board  decided that drivers can be classified as employees. Alas, the ruling does not apply to the three original plaintiffs, only to other “similarly situated” drivers.

“We won and they lost,” New York Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai told Politico. The Alliance further believes that this decision marks a broad precedent that could create a new “safety net” for drivers, who have long complained of being unfairly treated by Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies.

Uber does have the option of contesting the Board’s conclusion, though it will have to do so in New York state court. Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang did not say whether the company will be pursuing this option, instead saying, “We disagree with this ruling and we are reviewing our options. We are confident that the ruling uniquely applies to the three claimants because many of the practices cited in the opinion never applied to one or more of the claimants, are no longer in place, or never existed at all.”

If Uber elects not to appeal the decision, Labor Department spokeswoman Jill Aurora explained that the company will be “required to make [unemployment insurance] contributions for these, and other similarly situated drivers. If Uber fails to make such contributions, the Department’s procedure would be to conduct an investigation to determine the amounts of contributions that are due as a result of this decision.”

This could put a serious dent in Uber’s wallet, as the company has more than 65,000 drivers in New York City alone, and it shows no signs of shrinking. In fact, a recent report suggests that “Uber alone would be the largest for-profit private employer in New York City — if Uber drivers were classified as employees rather than independent contractors.”

Guess who just hired 65,000 new employees?

Computing

Intel’s ninth-generation CPUs could launch on October 1

New rumors point to an October 1 release date for Intels' next-generation CPUs. The 9900K, 9700K, and 9600K could all debut in just a few weeks time, offering higher clocks and increased core counts.
Mobile

Bloatware could be putting millions of Android devices at risk

A study has revealed that changes to Android's firmware and added bloatware from carriers could be making millions of Android smartphones vulnerable to massive hacks and potential data theft.
Cars

NYC just dealt a major blow to Uber and Lyft

New York City regulators placed a cap on operational licenses it grants for Uber and Lyft drivers. The city says it's an attempt to try and save the city’s integral Yellow Cab system after several cab drivers committed suicide.
Smart Home

Your Uber Eats delivery fee is going up (or maybe down)

Uber Eats has done away with its flat-rate $5 delivery, choosing instead to set it according to how close you are to the restaurant. Deliveries by Uber Eats will now cost between $2 and $8 per delivery.
Cars

These are the best 2019 wagons on sale today in the U.S.

While minivans seemed to have fallen out of favor for the SUV and the crossover SUV with just a few available today, wagons remain relatively popular, particularly with a strong cult following. These are the best wagons on sale today that…
Cars

You’ll need $68,000 to land a tech-rich 2019 Audi A7 in your driveway

Have you been eyeing the latest rendition of Audi’s tech-savvy A7 Sportback? Well the deal just got a little sweeter as Ingolstadt’s finest just announced the pricing list for the new 2019 Audi A7.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s working on a new 8C plug-in hybrid supercar

Despite the untimely and sad death of former FCA CEO, Sergio Marchionne, the show must go on and Alfa Romeo's reportedly working on a new mid-engined, gas-electric plug-in hybrid supercar called the 8C.
Cars

Head Tesla engineer leaves for Apple to possibly reboot self-driving car

Apple's self-driving car project could get the reboot as a former chief engineer for Tesla Motors left the company to go back to Apple. Doug Field, who worked at Tesla from 2013 until last month, will go back to Apple.
Cars

Take a Don Draper-worthy road trip in this vintage $225,000 RV

Everything from the unique shape down to the luxury finishes makes this fully restored travel trailer worth the price. It's even been signed by Chuck Pelly.
Cars

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.
Cars

NHTSA investigating Ford F-150 seat belt fires, may recall 1.4 million trucks

The NHTSA is investigating reports of fires in five Ford F-150 pickup trucks. The NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation is exploring whether seatbelt pretensioners caused the fires during crashes and if a recall is necessary.
Cars

2019 Honda Civic sedan and coupe add more standard driver-assist tech

The 2019 Honda Civic compact sedan and coupe get a handful of updates to stay fresh, including exterior styling tweaks, standard Honda Sensing driver aids, and a new Sport trim level.
Product Review

2019 Chevrolet Silverado is the biggest and best Silverado ever

There’s a lot to tell in our 2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive review, from new engine options, new chassis and suspension design, new bed and tailgate features, new trailering tools, and new trim levels. Dive in and learn.