drivers have no employment relationship, STJ decides – Brazil

O STJ (Superior Court of Justice) decided unanimously that there is no employment relationship between the Uber and the drivers: they are individual entrepreneurs, not employees of the company. In addition, they are expected to take future legal disputes to a Civil Justice court, not the Labor Court.

Uber app - driver

“Application drivers do not maintain a hierarchical relationship with the Uber company because their services are provided on an occasional basis, without pre-established schedules and do not receive a fixed salary, which de-characterizes the employment relationship between the parties,” wrote Minister Moura Ribeiro in your decision.

Ribeiro explains that the shared economy is a new modality in which the applications of technology companies serve as intermediaries for those who want to provide services to other people.

“The drivers act as individual entrepreneurs, with no employment relationship with the company that owns the platform,” says the minister. Thus, Uber will not be required to pay labor rights to drivers, such as notice, vacation, FGTS and severance penalty.

In addition, the STJ defined that the Civil Justice is responsible for resolving disputes between Uber and drivers – these cases should not go to the Labor Court. All the ministers who are part of the Second Section of the STJ agreed with the decision, which was taken last week and went public this Wednesday (4).

Uber sued for moral damages after banning driver

This is the first time that a higher court in Brazil has taken a position on the matter; this should influence other cases in instances of first and second degree. According to Uber, more than 250 lawsuits in the Labor Court have already decided that there is no employment relationship between driver partners and the company.

The STJ analyzed the link between drivers and Uber due to a lawsuit that started in the state court of Minas Gerais. A driver was suspended from the platform on the grounds of irregular behavior and misuse of the application; then, he sued for moral damages.

The state court did not consider itself able to judge the case, considering that it was an employment relationship. The process was referred to the Labor Court, which also refrained from a decision: for her, there was no employment relationship between the driver and Uber. Therefore, the case ended up in the STJ.

With information: Reuters, Bloomberg.

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