Uber is being sued again. The question of the Uber drivers’ employment status has opened the class action floodgates. Within two weeks of the settlement of $100 million for class action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts that sought driver reclassification from independent contractors to employees, Uber is fielding two new cases against their company.
Following the California and Massachusetts case resolution, similar nationwide class-action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Uber drivers in both Florida and Illinois courts. The drivers (plaintiffs) allege that Uber, a San Francisco company, is in violation of the Fair Labor Standard Act. The new suits seek unpaid overtime wages and work-related expenses on behalf of drivers.
The class action suit that was filed in Illinois takes the familiar allegations to a new level by attempting to recover tips that drivers earned which they allege the company stole from them or caused them to lose through Uber policies and communications.
Legal representation for the Illinois class action lawsuit indicated that the settlement with California and Massachusetts drivers was an obvious attempt by Uber to band aid the situation when it called for much more drastic methods. Many drivers who work using the Uber service do so as a means of supporting themselves and their families. They need the protection of wage and hour laws and overtime pay requirements, just as much as the rest of the workers in the nation.
Uber responded to the new legal activity with a statement indicating that 90% of their drivers work with Uber because they enjoy being their own boss and that the reclassification of drivers from independent contractors as employees would take that away from them. They would no longer have the flexibility that the status of independent contractor affords. Uber “employees” would have designated shifts, a fixed hourly wage that would limit their earnings, and prohibitions would keep them from driving for additional ride-sharing apps.
If you have questions about the misclassification of workers or if you are an independent contractor and have questions about misclassification of employees, please get in touch with the southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug and Bhowmik.