Gemma Pacella

Uber Case in the Brazilian Legal System: What Social Protection is There for Info-Drivers?

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On 13 February 2017, the Vara do Trabalho of Belo Horizonte ruled that Uber drivers are employees. The challenge of this essay does not take into consideration the classification or misclassification of the relationship between Uber and its drivers; it rather focuses on the social protection that should be guaranteed to drivers. The Uber case is the best-known example of work created from, and developed on an online platform organisation: this is integrated into a context of so-called "cybermediaries", i.e. online brokerage, offering a no-boundaries organisation model, where time, space, and services have no boundaries. Therefore, in terms of working time, drivers need protection against a platform that is always operational; in terms of remuneration, they are entitled to receive the wage established by the Brazilian legal system for the professional drivers category. However, adopting a systematic point of view, we can draw two main considerations: not every legal system is the same, and not every digital platform is the same. As a consequence, the aim of this essay is not to identify a law that applies to each and every platform and in all legal systems. The aim is instead to analyse a specific case with its own contractual relationship within a specified legal system, and to suggest a social protection scheme for our modern times' info-workers.

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