Will Uber Drivers Get Class-Action Status For Employment Case?
by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
A lawsuit by Uber drivers seeking to be deemed employees could become a bludgeon against the ride company or end up as a mere mosquito, depending on the outcome of a court hearing in San Francisco.
U.S. District Judge Edward Chen heard arguments Thursday about whether O’Connor et al vs. Uber Technologies deserves status as a class-action case representing 160,000 current and past Uber drivers in California, or whether it should be confined to the three drivers who brought the suit. His decision is not expected for several weeks.
The case’s outcome also looms over other on-demand companies because workers deemed employees have mandates on wages and benefits that contractors do not. It’s the furthest along of a recent raft of worker lawsuits against such firms, and potentially involves the largest numbers of plaintiffs.
Chen appeared skeptical of Uber’s arguments at the hearing’s outset. “Isn’t it contradictory that Uber says every single driver is an independent contractor and yet also says they are dramatically different from one another and thus can’t be certified as a class?” he asked.