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Judge orders Uber to pay R$1 billion in moral damages and

The 4th Labor Court of São Paulo condemned Uber to recognize the employment relationship of all its drivers, this Thursday (14). The company must register all drivers with a work permit within six months, under penalty of a daily fine of R$100,000 for each unregistered driver.

Labor judge Maurício Pereira Simões also ordered the company to pay R$1 billion in compensation for moral damages to the Workers’ Support Fund and to app driver associations registered with a notary and with regular social constitution.

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“The Defendant’s power of productive organization over drivers is much greater than any other known in labor relations to date. This is not the same level of control, it is a much greater, more effective level, some working with the drivers’ collective unconscious, indicating rewards and losses for assistance or refusal, being connected for the trip or not”, says the sentence signed by Simões.

The decision is a response to a public civil action filed by the Public Ministry of Labor. The body received a complaint from the Association of Autonomous Application Drivers about working conditions below those established by law.

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In the judge’s view, the company must be held responsible for actions and omissions regarding working conditions. “It is not even a question of negligence, imprudence or malpractice, but of acts planned to be carried out in such a way as to not comply with labor, social security, health and assistance legislation, that is, clearly acted with intent, or omitted in its obligations intentionally, when it had a constitutional and legal duty to observe such norms”, he argued.

The measures considered abusive by the judge go against the “psychic dignity of the population, in a repetitive and prolonged manner”, exposing workers to “humiliating and embarrassing situations, capable of causing offense to personality, dignity or psychological integrity”.

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In a statement, Uber states that it will appeal the decision and that it will not comply with the magistrate’s determinations until all resources are exhausted. “Uber is convinced that the sentence did not adequately consider the robust set of evidence produced in the process and was based, in particular, on doctrinal positions already overcome, including by the Federal Supreme Court”, argued the company.

Minimum decent work standards

One study linked to the University of Oxford published in March last year showed that Uber, iFood, 99, Rappi, UberEats and GetNinjas were unable to demonstrate minimum standards of decent work. Between 2016 and 2021 alone, according to the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea), the number of workers in the app delivery sector grew 979.8% in the country.

Carried out by Fairwork Brasil in collaboration with researchers from USP, UNISINOS, UFRJ, UFRGS and UTFPR, the survey evaluates, with a score from 0 to 10, each of the platforms based on five axes: remuneration, working conditions, contracts, management and representation.

As a methodology, documentary research, meetings with company managers and interviews with five to 10 workers per platform were carried out. The highest score was two, achieved by iFood and 99. Uber scored one point and Rappi, GetNinjas and Ubereats didn’t even score a point.

With the exception of 99, none of the companies were able to prove that their workers earn above the minimum wage. In 2021, when the study data was collected, according to the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIEESE), the minimum wage was R$5.50 per hour or R$1,212 per month.

Editing: Nicolau Soares

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