A recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco that the suit brought by three drivers now applies to all other California drivers who offer driving services to the ride-sharing company, Uber Technologies Inc. Hence, the lawsuit has now been granted a class-action status.
On March 11, 2015, Judge Chen had also denied Uber’s motion for summary judgment. Moreover, he had also agreed that Uber drivers must be classified as employees, instead of independent contractors. This means that the said drivers should be eligible for certain statutory protections as detailed in the California Labor Code. Moreover, this also means that Uber should be required to give the entire amount of any gratuity given by a passenger to its drivers.
During the previous hearing, Uber tried to emphasize that it only employs independent contractors that they refer to as “transportation providers.” Moreover, Uber asserted that the company actually does not employ any drivers. In response, the plaintiffs’ legal team pointed out that Uber had actually used the tagline “Everyone’s Private Driver” in the past, along with “On-Demand Car Service.”
Uber also said that it cannot claim drivers as employees as they have little control over the drivers’ hours or even, how they provide their transportation service. The plaintiffs dispute this claim by stating that Uber actually “exercises considerable control and supervision” with regard to how they provide their transportation service.
The lawsuit, which was originally hoping to certify about 160,000 people driving for Uber in California as a class, may also be facing some limitations. According to The Wall Street Journal, Judge Chen had excluded some of the drivers who work for independent transportation companies. In fact, he had actually questioned the relevance of 400 drivers with regard to the class action suit.
In response to the recent ruling, an Uber spokeswoman has told The Wall Street Journal that the company will appeal Judge Chen’s decision to grant class-action status.