Represented by Attorney Jeremy E. Abay of Sacks Weston LLC, UberBlack drivers in Philadelphia have officially filed a wage-and-hour lawsuit against their parent company Uber. This comes as no surprise as they took to the streets around City Hall weeks ago in protest.
The class action focuses on failed compensation payouts and suspiciously low wages; in some instances, UberBlack drivers claim they were given no overtime pay and were making less than minimum wage. It would appear that Uber’s practices may have violated the Fair Labors Standards Act, along with several other regulations.
There also comes trouble with UberX, a ride-sharing service that is taking the city by storm despite it not being legally recognized by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). Ever since UberX was introduced to Philadelphia in October, UberBlack drivers state that their wages have plummeted due to the fact that they must adhere to PPA regulations whereas UberX is free to cut rates as low as they please and sidestep mandatory registrations. The end result is an unfair competitive edge that UberBlack cannot hope to overcome.
What is Uber’s Argument?
Uber representatives have alleged that UberBlack drivers are not employees of their company, but are instead independent contractors. If this is determined to be true, they would not be entitled to benefits, set wages, and other aspects of employment that seem to have been violated. Attorney Abay and his clients contend that UberBlack drivers are indeed employees, as Uber controls their expenses, fares, and even how much business filters to them through the mobile app. It is also worth noting that the “independent contractor” argument has come up in class action lawsuits several times before, including an ongoing lawsuit Amazon is facing from their delivery drivers.
At this time, the lawsuit that Attorney Abay is fronting must focus strictly on Uber and not UberX, as UberX is illegal in and of itself in Philadelphia. The outcome of this case could compensate hundreds of UberBlack drivers, penalize Uber for potentially harmful business practices, and create finality over whether or not UberX should be accepted into the city.
For more information on this ongoing case, several online news sources have also released full reports on it, including:
Also be sure to frequent our firm news feed for updates straight from our own Philadelphia complex litigation attorneys at Sacks Weston LLC.