A little under a month ago, Uber had to make a massive payout to some of its drivers in California and Massachusetts in return for unpaid overtime, tips that went missing and driver expenses that weren't reimbursed. The kicker was that an independent contractor, who gets a form I-9 as opposed to a traditional W-2, would not have been entitled to most of those things. Uber has become a full time job for a great number of drivers. In those two states, such drivers banded together and demanded to be reclassified as full-time employees, as well as to reap all the benefits that the status entails. Both cases were won by the plaintiffs, setting a precedent that is most likely part of the reason that Uber is now staring down a similar lawsuit on a nationwide scale, aside from the two states that have already sued.
Given the outcome of the two class actions lawsuits that have already gone through in California and Massachusetts, it's unlikely that Uber will be able to resist the pressure to move all of their drivers across the United States to employee status, complete with a different pay scale and all of the requisite tax forms and formal recognition. This would entitle drivers to the benefits that were won by drivers in the first two suits, but there are some obvious downsides. A representative for Uber pointed out that the move would cost drivers a good portion of their flexibility and the ability to "be their own boss" due to the necessity of set shifts, a set hourly pay rate and, of course, an obligation to no longer drive with the competition.
Other possible implications of the move are hard to pin down this early in the process, but it would be no surprise to see this pushing Uber to double down on their self-driving car efforts, implement additional restrictions or even pull out of some less lucrative markets entirely. Depending on the ripple effects of the lawsuit, should it be won, other ridesharing apps may begin experiencing a surge in popularity as Uber's rates rise or drivers become disillusioned as employees, rather than contractors. At this time, no court dates concerning the lawsuit have been set.