Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.
—ISAAC WATTS, ENGLISH THEOLOGIAN
On November 23, 2014, Abdo Ghazi, a San Francisco–based driver for the controversial ride-hailing company Uber, was the victim of a frightening assault when a passenger allegedly jumped into the front seat of his car, punched him, and stabbed him in the face. Ghazi, who suffered a broken nose and puncture wounds, wound up missing two months of work—not only as an Uber driver, but also from his day job as a custodian. So on April 28, 2015, he filed suit against Uber for workers’ compensation.1
If you pay attention to tech or business news, you already know that Uber doesn’t always have the most sterling reputation when it comes to relationships. The high-flying Silicon Valley “unicorn” has been accused of trying to strong-arm municipal governments into changing taxi regulations and generally behaving in a high-handed, entitled manner. So you might suspect that under the circumstances, an organization that has gained this sort of reputation, whether accurate or not, might go out of its way to behave humanely when a serious injury to an employee puts it under the microscope, right?
From its beginnings, Uber has insisted that its drivers are independent contractors and therefore not entitled to benefits or workers’ compensation protection. The company refused to back down from that stance in Ghazi’s case. Uber’s legal team filed a motion to take the case to arbitration ...