A group of UberBLACK drivers in Philadelphia has alleged that Uber failed to provide them basic workplace protections, including minimum wages. Despite Uber’s multiple attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed, it continues to build strength and legal support. Recently, United States District Judge Michael Baylson disapproved of Uber’s most-recent dismissal motion and approved the drivers’ lawsuit. The three drivers are represented by Attorney Jeremy E. Abay of Sacks Weston .
History of the Philadelphia UberBLACK Case
Uber initially sought to have the class action dismissed on the basis that the drivers signed agreements requiring them to litigate their disputes individually in arbitration. The plaintiffs argued that they, and some 240 other Philadelphia drivers, sent Uber notice that they did not want to participate in Uber’s arbitration program, as was permitted by the agreement. In refusing to dismiss the case, Judge Baylson agreed with the plaintiffs, noting that the opt-out notices distinguished the Philadelphia case from others filed around the country.
In its most recent motion, Uber contested the plaintiff’s individual claims, stating that the UberBLACK drivers did not keep track of their own wages and pay rates. The drivers pointed out that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) removed that specific duty from an employee’s responsibility and instead placed it back onto the employer. Judge Baylson agreed with the plaintiffs and reaffirmed that Uber should have been keeping its own detailed records of driver wages and earnings.
Within the claim, it was noted that Uber makes automatic deductions from a driver’s salary. The deductions range from fees implemented by the Philadelphia Parking Authority to necessary monthly premiums paid to automobile insurance providers. Uber will take the deductions from an individual driver even if there are financial records to show that they had not made enough money that month through Uber to pay for said deductions.
The automatic deductions stood out in particular to Attorney Jeremy E. Abay, who recently commented: "There is something fundamentally wrong with a company that is worth 65 billion dollars but refuses to afford its drivers—who are the heart and face of the business—basic workplace rights.”
Overtime Claims To Be Amended
Besides being given less than minimum wage, the same class of plaintiffs alleged that Uber was not giving them overtime pay. Judge Baylson ordered the plaintiffs to add additional detail to their complaint in this respect. He determined that there was not enough evidence, concrete or inferential, of missing overtime pay to proceed with the complaint in its current state.
Other Lawsuits Against Uber
The ongoing case in Philadelphia is not the only legal trouble Uber is currently facing. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has brought a case against the popular ridesharing service company for also allegedly breaking overtime and minimum wage regulations in New York. Another class action, which is being based in an Illinois court, cites potential employee classification issues and disputes over how much of a tip goes to the driver and how much goes to Uber. There are also talks of personal injury lawsuits targeting Uber for damages caused by drivers using their app and “on-the-job” at the time of a car accident.
All of these cases are in development. It does appear, at least, that the Philadelphia case fronted by Attorney Jeremy E. Abay is making some welcome headway for the plaintiffs. For more information regarding this lawsuit as it develops, be sure to visit our blog frequently. For other questions about complex litigation cases handled by Sacks Weston LLC, new clients can contact our Philadelphia litigation lawyers by calling 215.764.3008.