The Uber driver that initiated a lawsuit against the ride-sharing company almost three years ago has come out against the $100 million class-action settlement to which he had previously agreed. The man now believes that the deal was misrepresented to him by his attorneys, and that he was forced to agree to its terms under duress and false pretenses. Still awaiting approval from a federal judge, the settlement would allow Uber to continue to classify its drivers—which the company calls “partners”—as independent contractors rather than employees.
Suit Sought Reimbursement for Mileage, Tips, and Expenses
Throughout the country and around the world, Uber drivers are classified by the company as independent contractors, as drivers are free to set their own schedules and areas of operation within the cities in which they are approved to drive. This means, however, that drivers are responsible for all tax reporting, as well as any and all expenses they may incur. The issue has been broached previously in cases involving accident liability and workers’ compensation, but the recent class-action suit was arguably the most widely covered by various news outlets.
The original plaintiff was a former San Francisco Uber driver who was looking to be reclassified as an employee, therefore making Uber responsible for reimbursing a greater number of his driving-related expense. The suit eventually became a class-action lawsuit, and after many months of attempts by Uber to have the case dismissed, the two sides reached a settlement agreement last month. The deal would allow Uber to continue classifying drivers as contractors, but required Uber to pay out up to $100 million in reimbursements for tips, mileage, and other driver costs.
The Next Chapter
The man who started the suit now believes that the lead attorney in the case settled much too quickly and that the agreement fails to meet the needs of wronged drivers. According to some estimates, if Uber had lost at trial, the verdict could have been up to 10 times larger than settlement. The former driver has retained new legal counsel, who helped him file an objection to the agreement last week. “Uber drivers are being sold out and shortchanged by billions of dollars while sacrificing the determination of their classification as employees,” the declaration states. “I cannot in good conscience support this disastrous settlement agreement.”
While his dissent may carry unofficial weight, it is not exactly clear if his objections will be taken into account by the court reviewing the settlement. Many believe that, regardless of the outcome of this case, the ultimate classification of on-demand workers in the new “gig” economy will ultimately require congressional legislation.
Independent Contractor Questions?
Properly classifying your workers can be very complex, but it is an important responsibility for any business owner. Contact an experienced Schaumburg employment law attorney today to ensure that your company is fully protected from any penalties related to the misclassification of employees and independent contractors. Call The Miller Law Firm, P.C., at 847-995-1205 for a consultation.