Suit: Uber delays drivers’ legal fights
Some 12,501 Uber drivers are “languishing in arbitration purgatory,” according to a lawsuit claiming the company is deliberately neglecting to pay fees required to get their out-of-court process started.
This, the suit argues, after Uber successfully defeated drivers’ efforts to sue as a group in court for better pay and benefits, forcing them to resolve disputes in arbitration.
Uber is obligated to pay the costs of arbitration, according to the suit filed in federal court in Oakland, California.
As a result of its delay tactics, Uber owes $18.8 million in arbitration fees, based on $1,500 per driver. Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment.
The arbitrations stem from a 2016 appeals court decision ruling Uber’s arbitration agreements with drivers are largely valid and enforceable.
Uber has long fought to classify its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees, saddling them with expenses, such as car mileage and maintenance, while the company saves money by avoiding the cost of benefits including sick leave and health insurance.