Lyft Drivers, If Employees, Owed Millions More – Court Documents
by Dan Levine and Heather Somerville, Reuters
Drivers who worked for ride-hailing service Lyft in California during the past four years would have been entitled to an estimated $126 million in expense reimbursements had they been employees rather than contractors, court documents show.
Lyft drivers would have recouped an average of $835 each under a standard rate for mileage reimbursement set by the U.S. government, according to the documents, which were made public on Friday and had not been previously reported.
Lyft and larger rival Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] face legal actions from drivers who contend they should be classified as employees and therefore entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. Drivers currently pay those costs themselves.
The new figures, requested by a judge and calculated by attorneys for the drivers based on data supplied by Lyft, provide a rare glimpse into how much ride-hailing services may save by classifying drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.
In a statement, Lyft said a recent survey showed that 82 percent of drivers preferred being classified as independent contractors. The company also called the reimbursement calculation “hypothetical and misleading,” partly because it assumed some drivers would be deemed employees even if they only worked “a handful of hours.”