Uber Drivers: Independent Contractors, Employees, or Something Else?

Monday, April 18, 2016
5:00 - 6:30pm
UCLA Law School, Room 1420



About the Panel:


Are Uber Drivers and others who provide service in the On-Demand economy entitled to the employment rights, benefits, and protections that other employees enjoy?  Or, are the “gig workers” actually independent contractors, entitled to no protection at all?  If they are employees, they would get benefit of minimum wage and overtime laws, protection against discrimination, health and safety standards, workers compensation for on-the-job injury, and many other rights under state and federal employment laws.  Moreover, if they are considered “employees,” then they are entitled to the protection of the labor laws when they try to organize unions.  Some have advocated that the law create a new category for these worker, such as “dependent contractor,” or “independent worker?”  Others have advocated that we improve the statutory rights and protections for independent contractors.  This panel will consider these issues from a number of perspectives.



About the Speakers:


SJD, University of Toronto, 2002
LLM, University of Toronto, 1998
LLB, Tel-Aviv University, 1997 (Magna Cum Laude)
Full Professor, Hebrew University, 2015 onwards
Associate Professor, Hebrew University, 2011-2015
Senior Lecturer, Hebrew University, 2007-2011
Lecturer (Assistant Professor), University of Haifa, 2002-2007
Founding Chair, Labour Law Research Network, 2011-2015, and member of the Steering Committee, from 2015
Co-Editor, Labour Society and Law, 2011-2015
Chief Editor, Hukim (Journal on Legislation), 2008-2009
Chief Editor, Mishapt Umimshal (Law and Government in Israel), 2003-2007
Founder and coordinator, Labour Law and Social Security Forum
Selected prizes and grants:
Rector's Prize for Outstanding Researcher (2014)
A grant from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) for the study "In Search of Efficient Job Security Regimes" (2009)
A grant from the German-Israeli Foundation (GIF) for a study on lay judges in labour courts (2007)
Invited by the Rockefeller Foundation to organize (with Brian Langille) a conference on the scope of labour laws in Bellagio, Italy (2005)


Sanjukta Paul is the David J. Epstein Fellow at UCLA School of Law. Her research lies at the intersection of market and labor regulation, and posits that many of the perennial conundrums of this intersection are especially constellated in the problem of precarious work. She is currently working on a book, tentatively titled Solidarity in the Shadow of Antitrust: Work, Collective Action and the Sherman Act, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. The book will build upon her paper, “The Enduring Ambiguities of Antitrust Liability for Worker Collective Action,” 47 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 101 (forthcoming, 2016) (SSRN link here). She is also engaged in the early stages of a collaborative project that will address the intersection of competition law and workers’ rights from an international and comparative perspective. This project will, among other things, explore how ambiguous concepts of market competition embedded in free trade agreements may operate to further subordinate precariously placed workers in the Global South. She has presented her work at numerous conferences, including the Labour Law Research Network (LLRN) conference (University of Amsterdam), the Law & Society conference (Seattle), the Class Crits conference (UC-Davis), and the Eighth Annual Colloquium on Scholarship in Labor & Employment Law (UNLV).

Professor Katherine Stone is a leading expert in labor and employment law in the United States. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2008 and a Russell Sage Fellowship for 2008-2009 for her work on the changing nature of employment and the regulatory implications. Her forthcoming book, Globalization and Flexibilization: The Remaking of the Employment Relationship in the 21st Century, will examine the changing employment landscape in Japan, Australia, and Europe.


Professor Stone has been a member of the faculty of the UCLA School of Law since 2004.  Previously, she was Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and Anne Evans Estabrook Professor of Dispute Resolution at Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She has also taught at Yale Law School, Stanford Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, New York University Law School, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School. Professor Stone received her B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard University and her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.  She practiced law at Cohen Weiss & Simon and at Rabinowitz Boudin Standard Krinsky & Lieberman in New York City.


Professor Stone teaches courses in labor law, employment law, labor and social policy, contract law, and arbitration law. She is an active participant in a number of organizations and committees, including the Law and Society Association, the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, and the International Society of Labor Law and Social Security (Executive Board). She has served on the United Nations Committee of Experts for its Decent Work Initiative.


Professor Stone is the Founder and Editor of the Globalization and Labor Standards (GALS) Bibliographic Archive and Database, available at , which includes abstracts of journal articles about international labor rights and global labor standards.



Noah Zatz's interests include employment & labor law, welfare law and antipoverty policy, work/family issues, feminist legal & social theory, and liberal political theory.  His writing and teaching address how work structures both inequality and social citizenship in the modern welfare state.  Zatz’s primary focus is on which activities become recognized and protected as "work," how work is defined in relationship to markets, and how the boundaries of markets are themselves mediated by gender and race, among other things.  His published scholarship engages these questions by studying the legal concepts of "work" in welfare work requirements and "employment" in labor & employment law, especially with regard to the status of family caretaking, prison labor, workfare, and sex work.  Another major interest is how antidiscrimination law, and employment law more generally, address labor market inequality that is jointly produced by workers’ interactions with employers, coworkers, and actors outside the workplace.


As a teacher, Zatz is particularly committed to training public interest lawyers and to engaging students with law’s possibilities both as an instrument of injustice and as a contributor to emancipatory social change.  To these ends and others, Zatz actively participates in UCLA’s Epstein Public Interest Law & Policy and Critical Race Studies programs.


Zatz’s current research explores how U.S. antipoverty programs exclude child care from assessments of a household's economic needs and how this exclusion links family caretaking’s status as nonwork with the inadequate provision of child-care assistance to employed parents.  Another current project analyzes the theoretical basis for the “disparate impact” claim of discrimination, with an emphasis on the significance of intra-group differences and the importance they take on in contexts such as the racial significance of exclusions based on criminal records.





This event is presented by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor & Employment (IRLE), UCLA Law Public Interest Law Program (PILP), UCLA Law Project on Work and, Employment Regulation (POWER), UCLA Globalization and Labor Standards Project (GALS)