Uber can prevent drivers from banding together as a class

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Uber can stop its drivers from banding collectively in class-action lawsuits, a federal appeals courtroom in San Francisco dominated on Tuesday.

The choice is in response to a case the place drivers tried to unite to pursue claims that they should be thought of staff as a substitute of unbiased contractors.

As staff, they argue, they’re entitled to advantages equivalent to reimbursements for gasoline.

The worker vs. unbiased contractor debate has been happening for years. On one hand, unbiased contractors are cheaper to rent, and in contrast to staff, corporations will not be required to offer them with the identical advantages. Uber has lengthy insisted that lots of its drivers need to be their very own bosses, and worth their independence.

Tuesday’s choice de-certifies a category of 240,000 Uber drivers, lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan of Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C. who’s representing the drivers, instructed CNN. To pursue claims in opposition to Uber, drivers who signed arbitration agreements can have to take action individually.

“We now have, sadly, been lengthy anticipating this,” she stated in a press release. “1000’s of drivers have already signed up for particular person arbitration. If Uber needs to resolve these disputes one after the other, we’re prepared to do this — one after the other.”

The ruling comes as no shock to these, like Liss-Riordan, who paid shut consideration to the US Supreme Court docket’s choice in a lawsuit in opposition to Epic Techniques Company that got here down in Could.

The justices guidelines in favor of Epic Techniques in a combat in opposition to the Nationwide Labor Relations board, and deemed that arbitration agreements are enforceable.

Uber’s arbitration agreements require employees to pursue claims on a person foundation. Even when Uber made a major coverage change earlier this 12 months in response to a CNN report into sexual assault and abuse by drivers, Uber stated it will nonetheless not permit victims to hitch collectively as a category. Victims would not be compelled into arbitration, however should search arbitration, mediation or open courtroom on a person foundation.

Nonetheless, Liss-Riordan hasn’t given up: “We’re contemplating our choices, together with an en banc [full court] attraction to all the Ninth Circuit. Within the meantime … we’re urging all Uber drivers who need to pursue these misclassification claims to contact us instantly to enroll in particular person arbitration,” Liss-Riordan stated.

When reached for remark, an Uber spokesperson stated: “We’re happy with the Court docket’s choice.”

CNNMoney (New York) First printed September 25, 2018: three:18 PM ET

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