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Driver Employment Status Questioned Again as Lyft Faces Another Class Action Lawsuit.jpg

The well-known ride-share app/company, Lyft, is facing another class action lawsuit that claims the group intentionally misclassifies their drivers as independent contractors. The misclassification class action lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California by Donald Brunner Jr., Lyft driver. Serving as a representative of Lyft drivers, the Burbank resident has been driving for the company full time since March 2016. According to claims made in the lawsuit, Brunner worked 42 to 70 hours per week since he started driving for Lyft and logged between 500 and 1,100 miles per week. He claims that he (and other Lyft drivers) were refused reimbursement of expenses, overtime pay, minimum wage, and other rights employees are provided by law.

It’s not the first time Lyft has faced a lawsuit. In fact, it’s not the first time Lyft has faced a lawsuit over a driver classification violation allegation. The company just settled a previous lawsuit over driver classification in June. The terms of the settlement were not made public. In 2017, Lyft settled another misclassification lawsuit for $27 million after close to four years of litigation. Since that settlement, the California Supreme Court issued the Dynamex decision that opened the door to more misclassification lawsuits aimed at the gig economy. Filed in the wake of the Dynamex decision, another lawsuit, Norton v. Lyft is still in litigation. Another, similarly structured ride-share app company, Uber, settled a case in early 2019 for $20 million. (This particular case was in litigation for six years). Uber arguments were supported in this case by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that arbitration clauses drivers agree to prior to working with Uber direct legal issues to an arbitration proceeding rather than court proceedings; effectively blocking class actions.

In Brunner’s case, the plaintiffs’ legal counsel argue that Lyft waived their arbitration rights when they did not pay required fees to the American Arbitration Association (AAA), which was allegedly part of the agreement as outlined in the terms of service. Since AAA requires fees in advance of any hearing, when Lyft refused to pay it basically blocked arbitration. In addition, the plaintiffs present fairly standard arguments for driver misclassification including that Lyft is entirely dependent on drivers to provide services, drivers do not have meaningful degrees of business autonomy, drivers do not set their own rates or build business relationships with customers for repeat services, the company controls the terms of employment and requires drivers to maintain certain standards (drivers cannot cancel rides without consequences from the company), and the 15-second acceptance rate for rides prevents drivers from being actively engaged in any other meaningful activity when not providing Lyft services.

If you have a misclassification claim, please get in touch with Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP, our employment law attorneys have the resources and experience companies fear in litigation. Our labor lawyers make sure that our clients get ALL of the wages they are owed when companies violate California labor laws.

Undisclosed Settlement Amount Agreed Upon in Neiman Marcus Wrongful Termination Suit

Neiman Marcus recently settled a wrongful termination lawsuit. The suit was filed by former Neiman Marcus employee, Amir Peleg, who claims that he was fired for being gay and Jewish. Peleg asked for $40 million in punitive damages and $16 million in compensatory damages for economic loss as well as emotional pain and suffering. A Los Angeles County court clerk recently announced that the department store giant settled the wrongful termination lawsuit. The jury trial for the case began on September 2nd, 2014. It was still in progress when both parties agreed to a settlement agreement. The details of the agreed upon settlement were not released to the public and neither attorney could be reached for comment regarding the settlement.

Peleg is 59 years old. He is a former salesman for the Neiman Marcus fragrance department located in Beverly Hills. He claims that he was harassed about both his sexual orientation and his religion by his supervisor. His supervisor, Miryam Emamian is an Iranian woman of Muslim faith. It was noted in court that she refused to approve time off for Jewish holidays and that she made derogatory comments when he requested vacation time to go visit Israel. Peleg also claimed that his direct supervisor, Emamian, kept portions of bonuses he was given for exemplary sales. (Bonuses were in expensive beauty products). She was fired in 2008. Peleg’s attorney said that his client was an exemplary employee and a top associate with close to $1 million in sales/year. After his dismissal from Neiman Marcus, Peleg had to move out of his home and file for bankruptcy.

Neiman Marcus claims that Peleg was dismissed because he provided thousands in free samples of expensive face cream product and that the product he gave away as “free samples” eventually made its way to a Chinese website where it was sold for profit.

For more information on wrongful termination contact the California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik. 

Examples of Employment Discrimination: Common Forms of Discrimination in the Workplace

The basic definition of employment discrimination is when an employee is treated unfavorably because of their race, their skin color, their disability, religion, age, gender, national origin, group affiliations, etc. Discrimination is illegal in any facet of employment. That means that the illegality of discrimination extends beyond simply hiring and firing practices.

Some common forms of discrimination in the workplace include:


  • Indicating a preference amongst candidates in a job advertisement
  • The exclusion of potential employees during recruitment
  • Discrimination when deciding upon promotion and lay-off candidates
  • Denial of the use of company facilities or the disruption of the use of common workplace facilities
  • Discrimination when assigning leave (maternity, disability, retirement options, etc.)
  • Denial of employee benefits due to discriminatory factors
  • Payment of equally experienced and qualified employees in the same position, performing the same job duties, different salaries


Employers who make assumptions based on race, gender, age, etc. are breaking the law. It’s also illegal for an employer to make assumptions regarding an employee’s capabilities because of disabilities. In addition, employers are prohibited from withholding opportunities on the job because of the employee’s relationship with someone of a certain race, age, ethnicity, etc. Discrimination sometimes comes in the form of harassment based on personal traits that are protected by the law.

Employers are required to inform all employees of their rights under EEOC laws, but if you need more information or if you have questions regarding its application to your workplace, contact the California employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.