Tuesday saw Uber take steps towards combating the U.S. District decision that allowed for drivers to have class action status, according to The Wall Street Journal. The decision was based on the nature of the employment status Uber’s drivers—who have long been considered “contractors”—being seen as employees.
The lawsuit has its roots in three Uber drivers who said they were employees of Uber as opposed to independent contractors. The terminology raises issues since Uber has always maintained a safe distance from calling their drivers employees since it would protect the company from legal issues, equipment issues, and benefit responsibilities.
Having independent contractors also allows for Uber to have a near endless pool of workers in driver positions when the company expands into a new area. Since independent contractors have to take care of their own expenses it also frees up resources Uber would’ve needed to pump into drivers if they were definitely employees of the company.
The lawsuit’s goal was for 160,000 drivers to be included in the suit, however Uber managed to include update terms to standing contracts. The result was a chunk of the drivers in the suit dropping from the class action suit.
Uber’s lawyer’s main point against the decision is that it would have dire consequence for future and present startups. Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer for the driver, told The Wall Street Journal that she expected U.S District Edward Chen’s decision to stand.