The Uber employment law attorneys at Kherkher Garcia, LLP are currently reviewing claims related to Uber’s misclassification of drivers. We are also assisting clients who have been discriminated against or harassed while driving or using Uber’s services.
Below, we offer more information about Uber’s misclassification claims, including information about lawsuits, relevant laws, and how to protect your rights.
What is Misclassification?
Misclassification is the act or instance of wrongly assigning someone or something to a group or category. In the context of employment, misclassification occurs when an employer classifies an individual worker as an independent contractor when they would be more accurately classified as an employee.
There are a number of factors that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) considers when determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. These factors include:
The extent to which the employer controls the worker’s work
The extent to which the worker is free to set their own hours and work location
The extent to which the worker is required to perform services for the employer
The extent to which the worker receives benefits from the employer, such as health insurance or paid time off
The Consequences of Misclassification
If an employer misclassifies a worker as an independent contractor, it can have a number of negative consequences for the worker. These consequences can include:
The worker may not be paid minimum wage or overtime
The worker may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job
The worker may not be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are laid off
The worker may not be eligible for Social Security or Medicare benefits
Employers who misclassify workers as independent contractors can also face legal penalties. The DOL can impose fines of up to $1,100 per misclassified worker per day. Employers can also be sued by workers who are misclassified.
If you believe that you have been misclassified as an independent contractor, you should contact the DOL or an attorney. You may be entitled to back pay, overtime pay, benefits, and other damages.
Understanding Uber Misclassification Claims
Uber Misclassification Claims refer to the legal disputes and allegations surrounding the classification of Uber drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. The misclassification claims argue that Uber drivers should be considered employees and entitled to the associated benefits and protections, such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and reimbursement for expenses.
Uber, the popular ride-hailing platform, has faced numerous lawsuits and regulatory challenges worldwide regarding the employment status of its drivers. The company has consistently maintained that its drivers are independent contractors, asserting that they have the flexibility to set their own schedules and work on their terms.
However, opponents argue that Uber exerts significant control over its drivers through various means, including setting fares, providing guidelines for drivers’ behavior, and implementing rating systems. They contend that these factors demonstrate an employment relationship and that Uber drivers should be classified as employees.
Why are People Filing Uber Misclassification Claims?
Misclassification claims have been brought by drivers themselves, as well as labor unions, and regulatory authorities in different jurisdictions. Here are some examples of the types of cases and outcomes of Uber misclassification claims:
California Drivers File Class-Action Lawsuit
A group of Uber drivers in California filed a class-action lawsuit against the company alleging they were misclassified. The case was heard in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, which approved an $8.4 million settlement in July 2022.
New Jersey Ruling on Misclassification Errors
In 2022, Uber paid a $100 million settlement after an audit showed thousands of misclassification errors. The settlement covered around 300,000 Uber drivers, and is one of the largest in state history. This audit was part of a federal audit to ensure businesses are compliant with unemployment insurance contribution requirements. The audit found that Uber had not been compliant and had not been making adequate contributions.
California Supreme Court Ruling
In 2017, the California Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are employees, not independent contractors. The ruling was based on a number of factors, including the fact that Uber drivers are subject to a high degree of control by Uber, and that they are not free to set their own rates or work hours. The ruling could have a significant impact on Uber’s business model, as it could require the company to pay drivers minimum wage, overtime, and other benefits.
New York Drivers File Class-Action Lawsuit
In 2015, a group of Uber drivers in New York filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Uber misclassified them as independent contractors. The lawsuit claimed that Uber drivers were in fact employees, and that Uber was therefore violating New York labor laws by not paying them minimum wage, overtime, and other benefits. In 2016, Uber agreed to pay $28 million to settle the lawsuit.
The outcomes of these legal battles have varied across different countries and regions, as employment laws and regulations differ. Some courts and regulatory bodies have ruled in favor of drivers, stating that they should be classified as employees. Others have sided with Uber, considering the drivers as independent contractors.
Consult with a Misclassification Attorney
Ultimately, there is still a lot of room for clarification on how employment laws impact Uber and its drivers. However, if an employer intentionally misclassifies you, you are a victim of wage theft and potentially other violations of your rights. By working with a misclassification attorney, you may be able to recover lost wages or benefits that you should have been entitled to.
At Kherkher Garcia, our Uber misclassification attorney can help you explore your situation and determine if you have grounds for a misclassification claim. We will help you understand your rights and how employment law may assist your case. We will also help you understand the responsibilities that employers have, and why it is so important to fight back against employment law violations.
To find out more, get a free consultation with our Uber misclassification attorney. You can get started by calling 713-333-1030, or by reaching out to us online.
Image by pressfoto on Freepik