May 27, 2015 · 1 minute

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity has decided that an Uber driver is eligible for unemployment because he was, despite Uber's claim that drivers are independent contractors, previously employed by the ride-hailing startup.

Much of the so-called sharing economy (which doesn't really exist) is based on the idea that people who find work through a platform like Uber or TaskRabbit are independent contractors who shouldn't be considered legitimate employees.

Why? Because it's cheaper. Having a bunch of employees working full-time hours via these platforms could require these companies to pay for insurance, offer paid time off, or provide other benefits that aren't given to contractors.

Yet unsurprisingly, many on-demand workers desire these benefits. That's what Fusion reported after Requests for Startups asked some 1,000 on-demand workers about how often they work, what they want from their not-employers, and how much they earn:

The researchers asked contract workers to rate several factors from 1-10 in terms of desirability. The highest average ranking went to 'health benefits,' followed by 'retirement benefits' and 'paid sick, holiday, and vacation days.' (Far less desired were feel-good perks like “company-sponsored events.”)
All of which has led some workers to sue Uber, Lyft, and other on-demand companies. Florida's decision to classify this Uber driver as an employee, instead of as an independent contractor, will probably help in those efforts.

Finally, a story involving a Florida man that doesn't have a disastrous ending.

[illustration by Hallie Bateman]