(Adds number of cases Uber has lost in Brazilian labor court)
By Marcelo Rochabrun
SAO PAULO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Uber said on Monday it would appeal a ruling by a labor court in Brazil in favor of a driver who demanded to be considered an employee of the ride hailing app, whose labor model views drivers as independent contractors.
The ruling, however, will not be implemented until all appeals have been made, the judge wrote in a decision on Friday.
Uber Technologies Inc said in a statement that it will file an appeal before the nation’s top labor court, saying there was “solid jurisprudence” to support its case.
The company added that it has already won 123 similar lawsuits in Brazil, with judges ruling that Uber does not need to treat drivers as employees. In comparison, it has lost only four cases, the company said.
The stakes surrounding labor lawsuits in Brazil are high - the country is Uber’s second-largest market.
Brazil’s labor laws are strict and worker-friendly, including dedicated prosecutors who look for violations to present to the country’s labor courts.
The company says its Brazil operation is profitable, which it has not been able to achieve globally.
Uber and other ride-hailing apps consider drivers to be contractors, without the labor rights accorded to employees, although in some countries the company does offer limited benefits. The policy has been criticized globally by labor advocates who think it is a way to obtain cheap labor and minimize company liability.
“It’s important to clarify that it is not Uber who hires drivers, but drivers that hire Uber,” the company said in its statement.
Mauricio Nanartonis, a lawyer for the driver who sued Uber, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun Editing by Brad Brooks and Dan Grebler)