France’s highest appeals court ruled that one of Uber Technologies Inc.’s former drivers should be recognized as an employee rather than as an independent contractor, putting France at the vanguard of other efforts around the world to give so-called gig-economy workers broader employment rights.

The decision—which can’t be appealed—appears to be the first from a top court anywhere in the world that contradicts Uber’s contention that its drivers are independent contractors. Uber is facing similar litigation in the U.S. and…

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