Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Class action employment lawsuits against Uber settled

Many California residents make their living driving for Uber. Some of them might be part of one of the two class action lawsuits filed against the ride-hailing company regarding the employment status of its drivers. Since both cases recently settled, they might receive a portion of the approximately $100 million the company has agreed to pay in order to avoid any changes in its current business model, which regards drivers as contractors and not employees.

The issue of whether drivers were legally employees instead of independent contractors was not answered in the settlement or by the court. Therefore, Uber is not bound to provide benefits, such as health insurance, for its drivers. How much of the settlement money each driver receives is dependent on the number of miles a contractor has driven his or her passengers.

Approximately 385,000 here in California and in Massachusetts will receive payments. All drivers will now have the opportunity to correct issues before they are let go. There will be an internal panel and an appeals process to handle pay disputes, along with other issues. If those issues are not resolved to the driver's satisfaction, the parties may then attend arbitration, which will be paid for by Uber.

The fact that the employment status of the drivers involved in these two class action cases was not resolved in the settlement does not preclude it from being answered at another time through additional litigation. Whether the company makes payouts to drivers does not influence the possibility of that question being brought to the court in the future. There are times when a victory on some parties' disputes should be considered a "win" even if there is more work to be done.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "What you need to know about the Uber settlement", Samantha Masunaga, April 22, 2016

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