Per the motion, the drivers had to accept the agreement, which contained an arbitration provision, before they could continue using the Uber app but had access to the document afterward, as well as prior to accepting.
Moreover, both plaintiffs failed to opt out of the arbitration provision even though they had 30 days to do so after accepting the Platform Access Agreement, Uber argued.
The motion further noted that although the plaintiffs have claimed to fall under an exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act, the exemption is meant to apply only to seamen, railroad workers and “any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Uber stated that the exemption was not meant to cover “personal passenger-transportation providers” such as Uber drivers who “almost always operate locally near their homes.” While drivers may sometimes cross state lines, as one plaintiff did in only 0.08 percent of his trips while the other did in only 5.46 percent of his trips, doing so is “mere ‘happenstance’” and is not an inherent aspect of the drivers’ jobs, the motion stated.
Uber further argued that the exemption does not apply because the Platform Access Agreement was not an employment agreement but rather a license agreement, and drivers transport passengers, not goods.
The judge overseeing the case has yet to grant or deny Uber’s motion.
Uber Technologies, Inc. has misclassified drivers as independent contractors under New York Labor Law and failed to pay the workers proper wages and reimbursement for business expenses, a proposed class action alleges.
The 10-page lawsuit out of New York argues that because the San Francisco-based rideshare company requires drivers to abide by “a litany of policies and rules” designed to control their job performance, the defendant’s relationship with the workers resembles more closely that which exists between an employer and employee.
According to the case, Uber retains the right to terminate drivers at any time, including when the company believes a driver has behaved inappropriately or violated one of its rules, or when Uber determines the driver’s customer ratings are inadequate. Stressed in the lawsuit is that Uber drivers perform work “in the usual course of Uber’s business” in that it’s their responsibility to perform the customer transportation service the defendant provides.
“Without drivers to provide rides for Uber’s customers, Uber would not exist,” the complaint argues.
The lawsuit goes on to assert that Uber drivers are not engaged in their own transportation business when working for the defendant and rely fully on Uber to assign them customers. Further, Uber drivers have no control over the price of their services or the software they must use to accept ride requests and track their location in real time, the case adds.
Moreover, the defendant sets quality standards for drivers’ vehicles and monitors their performance, the lawsuit says.
Despite Uber’s level of control over its drivers, however, the defendant allegedly fails to reimburse the workers for any necessary expenses they incur on the job, including for the cost of maintaining their vehicle, gas, insurance, and phone and data expenses. Per the complaint, these costs are a “necessary expenditure” to work for Uber, and the company’s failure to reimburse the expenses amounts to an improper deduction from drivers’ wages.
According to the suit, Uber has overstepped the New York Labor Law by failing to ensure its drivers are paid proper minimum and overtime wages.
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