Uber settles disputes with drivers ahead of IPO

Dispute over whether drivers are contractors

By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

(CNN) - Uber has reached a settlement with tens of thousands of its drivers in the United States over their employment status.

Drivers and Uber disputed whether they should be considered employees of the company or independent contractors. Although Uber did not provide details of the settlement, Uber said it continues to believe its drivers are independent contractors, not employees. The drivers can decide on their own when they want to work for the company and they can work for competitors such as Lyft in addition to Uber, the company noted.

Uber disclosed the settlement was disclosed in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday just ahead of its initial public offering. Uber said the settlement will cost it between $146 million and $170 million. It had already set aside $132 million in anticipation of reaching a settlement.

Tension with its drivers has hung over Uber for years, and the company probably wants to put as much of the issue to rest as it can before its public debut on the stock market Friday. Uber said that more than 60,000 drivers in the United States have filed claims challenging their status and that the settlement covers a "large majority" of them.

Uber and Lyft drivers staged a strike on Wednesday ahead of the IPO. They are seeking livable incomes, job security and regulated fares among other demands.

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