Thursday, July 13, 2017

Uber Drivers Win Preliminary Class-Action Status in North Carolina Labor Case

From Next City:

How Nearly 20,000 Drivers Could Change Uber
Uber drivers won a small victory Wednesday in their ongoing quest to be considered employees. The ruling of a federal court in North Carolina is only a step along the way, allowing the plaintiffs to seek out other drivers who have opted out of arbitration in their contracts with Uber, but it could still deal a blow to the company. As the New York Times notes, Uber has over 600,000 drivers across the U.S., and approximately 18,000 have opted out of arbitration in their contracts, making them eligible to join the plaintiffs.

“The ruling today is going to allow drivers across the country to band together to challenge Uber’s misclassification of them,” Paul B. Maslo, a lawyer for the drivers, told the Times. “They are employees and should be getting minimum wage and overtime as required by federal law.”
Uber said in a statement that it was “disappointed with this decision, particularly because a Federal District Court recently denied conditional certification in another case,” according to the paper. That ruling was made in Florida last month.
From the Times:
The drivers who opted out of arbitration, which Uber’s contract gave them 30 days to do, are in an unusual position. A growing number of employers, from start-ups like WeWork to major retailers like Kmart and Sears, require their workers to agree that any dispute will be heard not in court but in arbitration — a secretive process that is often lopsided in favor of the employer. Few companies provide any opportunity to opt out of the arbitration clauses.
Such clauses have thwarted dozens of class-action cases before they gained any momentum.
The drivers’ push to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors gained momentum last year, as workers in New York, Washington and California began to unionize. At the time, Johnny Magdaleno wrote for Next City:...MORE