Uber Strikes Back against Class-Action Suit Over Driver Wages
June 27, 2017
One of the many lawsuits filed against ride-share giant Uber is founded on claims that the company breached its contract in that its “upfront pricing model” actually served to deny drivers the wages they fairly earned. Now, the company is moving to have that suit dismissed.
Uber filed a motion to dismiss the class-action suit on the grounds that the plaintiffs misunderstood the contract.
The upfront pricing model charges riders a fee before the ride even begins, but such fares are often calculated on inflated projections of the time and distance of the ride. The suit alleges that Uber calculated its drivers’ shares of the fares based on the actual fare, not based on the fare that the company itself uses to secure the fares. Uber, the suit alleges, pockets the difference in this rigged equation.
Notably, Uber is not denying pocketing the difference. Rather, the company’s motion to dismiss is grounded on an allegation that its drivers misunderstood the contract’s usage of the upfront pricing model.
Central to the class-action suit is the fact that Uber tells drivers they will retain 80 percent of the fares they collect, but that the actual percentage yields turn out to be far lower than that.
If you’ve been stiffed by Uber, or if you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com. We can help.
Uber Moves to Discredit Employment Lawsuits
Update June 16, 2017
Uber, the troubled ride-sharing company, continues to use every litigation device at its disposal to discredit the lawsuits brought by disgruntled employees. Uber recently filed a brief in federal court that encourages the court to dismiss claims by drivers who assert that they are or were employees proper, not independent contractors.
The grounds for Uber’s current motion state that, since drivers opted out of arbitration, their lawsuits have been invalidated. The suit has been in the courts for four years.
Should Uber drivers past and present be classified in the eyes of the state as employees rather than as contractors, the company could be liable for enormous financial payouts in the form of employee benefits and other compensation.
The cases against Uber are numerous and complex, and the company is fighting them on several fronts.
If you feel that you’ve been cheated out of fairly earned compensation by Uber or another ride-sharing company, or if you’ve been in an accident involving an Uber vehicle, contact TheLawFirm.com.
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Uber Arbitration Misled Workers
June 15, 2017
A judge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that Uber must rescind or revise a dispute resolution that the company reached with its software engineers. According to the judge, the agreement does not clearly inform employees of their right to file unfair labor charges.
Judge Mara-Louise Anzalone ruled that the dispute resolution wrongfully misleads Uber software engineers to believe that they are unable to file charges with the NLRB, though in fact they legally entitled to do so. At issue was the “legal jargon” in the agreement, which rendered this point particularly unclear.
Uber, the app-based ride-sharing company, has run into a number of legal difficulties at the state and federal level. In particular, numerous cases have been filed pertaining to the company’s unfair treatment and/or classification of its drivers as contractors rather than as employees who are entitled to benefits. The NLRB case presents another angle on Uber’s troubled relationship with its employees.
If you believe you’ve been treated unjustly by Uber, contact TheLawFirm.com.
NY Uber Drivers Entitled to Employee Status
Update June 15, 2017
Troubled ride-sharing giant Uber has experienced more than its share of legal difficulties in state and federal court. Now, a court in New York has delivered a potentially serious blow to Uber’s firmly held contention that its drivers are not employees but independent contractors.
A judge in New York state’s labor department has ruled that Uber drivers are entitled to receive employee benefits, despite the company’s claim that, since they set their own schedules and were not required to report absences, the company’s drivers are actually contractors.
Companies are not legally obligated to pay employee benefits to independent contractors.
Judge Michelle Burrowes argued that Uber had “exercised sufficient supervision, direction and control” over their drivers for the drivers to be considered, in the eyes of the laws of the state of New York, employees proper. Burrowes cited the company’s requirement that drivers accept at least 90 percent of ride requests.
The case could have ramifications not only for Uber’s bottom line, but for how the company is viewed by regulatory agencies in all of the states in which it operates.
If you’ve run into legal difficulties with Uber or other ride-sharing services, contact TheLawFirm.com. We can help.
June 1, 2017
On May 30, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) dealt a second blow to a group of Florida drivers who had hoped to consolidate their cases against ride-hailing giant Uber. The JPML refused the combine three separate but related lawsuits, arguing that voluntary coordination is a better option for these cases than centralization.
The central claim of the plaintiffs was that Uber improperly classified drivers as independent contractors – rather than as employees – so that the company could unfairly reimburse the drivers for expenses and deny them the full amounts of some of the tips given by passengers to drivers.
The plaintiffs had wished to centralize putative class suits in Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee by drivers who chose not to participate in arbitration agreements with Uber. In February 2016, the JPML denied a previous centralization motion for similar reasons: that the cases involved too many state-specific issues, and that the cases have individually reached several different procedural stages.
The JPML rejected the Florida plaintiffs’ suggestion that the panel eliminate state-specific issues by separating them from a centralized MDL and remanding them to state courts. The panel said this approach would “result in the proliferation of duplicative litigation.”
Last year, the JPML rejected a centralization request that involved a total of 17 suits. Its reasoning was that state laws vary too widely on the subject of whether independent contractors are considered employees. That single issue – whether independent contractors may legally be considered as employees – is a question that Uber and other ride-hailing companies have been tangling with for years now.
The Florida plaintiffs are not subject to the arbitration clause that Uber has fought and continues to fight in a number of courts – largely with success. A small percentage of drivers took advantage of the 30-day opt-out period in the arbitration provisions of Uber’s driver contracts.
The attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are well acquainted with the legal complexities involving ride-hailing companies, especially those involving accidents and personal injury.
If you believe you have a legal complaint against a ride-hailing company, contact us. The consultation is free, and our expert ride-hailing attorneys will help you any way they can.
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