Uber faces another hit in a legal suit in France

Image:  MARY ALTAFFER/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

July isn’t looking so bright for Uber. The ride-hailing giant, which has faced an onslaught of scandals since January, was just hit with another blow that could severely impact its growth in Europe.

A new recommendation from the senior adviser to the European Union’s highest court says Uber should be classified as a taxi service in France, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

That ruling, if it comes to be, would subject Uber to more rules related to safety and employment. In good news for Uber, it remains a recommendation and is therefore non-binding and has not been approved by the courts yet.

We have seen todays statement and await the final ruling later this year, an Uber spokeswoman said in a statement to Mashable. “This case relates to a French law from 2014 and affects peer-to-peer services which we stopped in 2015. Uber today works only with professional licensed drivers in France.”

France has been pushing back against Uber’s growth with authorities declaring that the service should not simply be viewed as a technology company but rather be subjected to the same licensing fees and insurance requirements as taxis. French authorities arrested and fined two of Uber’s executives in the area last year.

Uber is trying to fight back by saying French authorities handled the proceedings incorrectly because they did not inform the European Commission before pushing out this ruling.

The ruling would not affect all of Uber’s operations in the country. Uber suspended UberPop, its low-cost service similar to UberX in the United States, back in 2015 and has said it has no plans to relaunch the service. It still works with professionally-licensed drivers in France.

Despite the tension in France, Uber is still rapidly growing around the world. The ride-hailing giant celebrated its 5 billionth ride last week, far outshining the competition. Lyft only operates in the United States, and other competitors are only regional.

Still, Uber is riddled with scandal. It is trying to operate without half of its top leadership, including former CEO Travis Kalanick who was forced to step down last month. The company is also facing a lawsuit from Google’s Waymo over stealing its self-driving car technology.

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