Uber Technologies Inc. paid $100 million to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development after it misclassified drivers as independent contractors. The state announced the payment today.
Department of Labor and Workforce Development audits found that Uber and subsidiary Raiser LLC had a combined $78 million in past-due contributions plus penalties and interest of $22 million. The finding covered 297,866 drivers.
Uber’s $100 million payment is the largest-ever such payment received by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“We will not tolerate companies that misclassify their workers, thereby denying employees vital benefits and dodging their obligation to contribute to programs that benefit the workforce,” acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said.
The department had examined Uber and Raiser’s books from 2014 to 2018 and originally assessed the firms $523 million in past-due contributions plus penalties and interest of up to $119 million. Those initial figures were rough estimates based on incomplete data, as the companies did not cooperate and submit their complete payroll records during the audit, according to the department. The companies contested the findings, and the case was transferred to New Jersey’s Office of Administrative Law. The amount was changed to $100 million based on additional information from Uber and Raiser.
In a statement to The New York Times, an Uber spokesman said its drivers continue to be independent contractors.
“Drivers in New Jersey and nationally are independent contractors who work when and where they want — an overwhelming amount do this kind of work because they value flexibility,” Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang told the newspaper. “We look forward to working with policymakers to deliver benefits while preserving the flexibility drivers want.”