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Court taps brakes on lawsuit against Uber

Drivers for the ride-hailing service are fighting to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

Uber caught a big break in a class-action lawsuit that seeks to force the ride-hailing service to treat drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.

On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said Uber could appeal a lower court order that certified a class of nearly 160,000 drivers in California. The decision, which the court based on an earlier case, opens the door to delaying a trial that had been scheduled to start June 20.

An Uber spokesman praised the decision. An attorney for the drivers didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Uber currently classifies drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees, which means the company doesn't pay Social Security, health insurance, sick days and other costs. It also means drivers are responsible for their own vehicle maintenance, insurance and gas. A change in worker classification to employee would dramatically increase the operating costs for Uber.

Lyft, Uber's main rival, agreed in January to pay $12.25 million to settle a similar class-action lawsuit brought by drivers in California.