Issues regarding the exact legal status of drivers for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are beginning to work their way into appellate courts. Since our legal system is based on precedent, opinions by upper level courts are particularly useful for lawyers to predict how rideshare organizations should be treated at trial.
On January 24, 2018, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued its opinion in the matter of Donald Lowman v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. Mr. Lowman had been gainfully employed as a “behavioral health specialist” until June 2015. He applied for unemployment compensation. In August 2015, the Unemployment Compensation Service Center determined that Mr. Lowman was not entitled to benefits even though he had lost his job. The basis for the initial conclusion was that his “enterprise” as an Uber driver rendered him ineligible for compensation.