The state's highest court has ruled that Boston cab drivers are independent contractors and not employees, meaning they are not covered by state overtime and wage laws.
The Supreme Judicial Court said in its ruling Tuesday that cab drivers have the freedom to work the shifts they choose and transport as many or as few passengers as they choose.
Four licensed drivers had sued three fleet owners in 2012 alleging the owners were violating state law by treating drivers who lease cabs as independent contractors. One defendant corporation owns about 20 percent of the city's taxi medallions.
Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the drivers, said she was "shocked" by the ruling, saying cab drivers are "exploited."
Two of the cab companies said in a statement they were "gratified" by the ruling.