Bloomberg reported recently that Uber lost a bid to force a former driver into arbitration after a San Francisco judge found the app-based ride service’s contract clause unenforceable.
Uber is in the process of appealing a decision made by the California Labor Commission earlier this year involving a former driver who claims that the company should have considered her an employee. The agency awarded the woman $4,000 in unpaid wages, plus interest.
The company claims that the woman signed the arbitration agreement before she started using the company app in July 2014, which it claims is enforceable. After driving for the company, the woman said that she should have never been considered an independent contractor and that she was entitled to benefits from using her personal vehicle. In her case, the Labor Commissioner ruled that she was entitled to be treated as an employee—a decision that is currently being appealed.
Labor experts say that the decision by the judge not to enforce the arbitration clause could have a big impact on current cases involving misclassification claims. The judge ruled that the contract Uber forces drivers to sign is “flatly inconsistent,” because in one provision, a private arbitrator decides whether a dispute should be resolved in arbitration, and in another, that the choice is to be made by a judge, according to Bloomberg.
Uber is expected to appeal the arbitration decision. Bloomberg reported that the case could take 18 months to two years before a decision is made based on the appeal. There are other misclassification lawsuits involving Uber and its rival Lyft Inc. pending in San Francisco courts, with federal judges’ ruling previously that the matters should go before jurors.
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We will continue to update you about Uber and Lyft labor lawsuits, so remember to follow our blog. If believe that your employment status is misclassified, you should speak to our Los Angeles labor attorneys.
Unfortunately, many tech companies in California have been accused of employee misclassification. Lawsuits often claim companies do this so that they can avoid providing workers with benefits. Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages for more information.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys