You Have Class!, says Judge to Uber Plaintiffs

Portrait of young handsome smiling man in glasses looking out through open car window outdoor in sunny day

A handful of Uber drivers sued the ride-share giant in 2013 alleging that they were functioning as company employees but improperly treated and underpaid as independent contractors. They claimed that Uber had been misclassifying not just them, but many other drivers as well.

Despite a hard fight and four hundred driver declarations to the contrary, the federal judge sitting in California found that Uber has not provided meaningful evidence that all its drivers prefer to be independent contractors or an argument as to why the decision regarding driver classification should proceed on an individual case by case basis.

Today, Judge Chen ordered that 160,000 Uber drivers should be certified as a class for the purpose of determining whether they were employees entitled to restitution of illegally withheld gratuities as well as other compensation and penalties. While this is a large number for a class action, it is actually a small portion of all California Uber drivers, as many of them have signed mandatory arbitration agreements and therefore cannot proceed against Uber in court.

A business model that is largely dependent on independent contractors in retrospect seems akin to a house built on sand.


This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2015. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

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