A group of drivers claimed on Tuesday that by fixing the prices paid by Uber and Lyft users and restricting drivers’ ability to choose which ride to accept without penalty. Opponents are involved in competitive methods.
The drivers, along with the advocacy group RideShare Drivers United, presented the new legal argument in a state lawsuit that targets the long-running debate over the employment status of gig economy workers.
Over the years, Uber and Lyft have argued that their drivers should be considered independent contractors rather than employees under labor laws, meaning they would be responsible for their own costs and generally related to unemployment insurance or healthcare. Not eligible for benefits. Companies, in turn, argued that drivers could set their own schedules and maintain greater autonomy if they were employed.
But in their complaint, which was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court and sought to obtain class action status, the three drivers claim that Uber and Lyft worked with them as independent contractors. But in doing so, they are not giving them true freedom and are trying to avoid giving this option to the drivers. Employment status benefits and reservations while restricting the way they work.
“They’re making rules when they go along. They’re not treating me independently, they’re not treating me like an employee,” said one of the plaintiffs, Taj Gul, in Orange County, California. A left and upper driver said. He added.
In 2020, Uber and Lyft campaigned for drivers and voters to support a ballot initiative in California that would strip drivers of their status as independent contractors. The companies said such a move would help provide flexibility to drivers, and Uber has begun allowing drivers in California to set their own rates, a sign that if the voter ballot scale What would life be like if we approved Proposition 22?
Drivers were also given more leeway where passengers wanted to travel before accepting the ride. The ballot scale passed before the judge overturned it.
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The following year, new driver options were returned. Drivers say they have lost the ability to set their own fares and now have to meet requirements – such as accepting five out of 10 rides – to see details about trips before accepting them. ۔
Drivers say they now lack the benefits of being an employee and being an independent contractor. “I couldn’t see it as fair and reasonable,” Mr Gill said.
The drivers said that it was especially difficult not to see the destination of the passenger before accepting the ride. This can sometimes lead to unexpected late night trips to distant airports or off-road destinations that are not cost effective.
In the lawsuit, drivers have been asked to stop Uber and Lyft from “pricing for ride-sharing services” and “withholding fare and destination data when presenting drivers with rides” and to make drivers “transparent.” Per mail “. Pay per minute or per trip instead of using “hidden algorithms” to determine compensation.
Drivers are suing on the grounds of mistrust, arguing that if they are classified as independent contractors, then Uber and Lyft are interfering in the open market by banning how they operate. And how much is charged to their passengers.
The lawsuit states that “Uber and Lyft are either liable to their employees under the Labor Standards Act, or they are bound by those rules to prevent powerful corporations from using their market power to set prices.” Prohibit and engage in other practices that prevent fair competition. “
Experts say the complaint would be a lengthy shot in federal court, where judges typically use a “roll of reason” to examine claims of no confidence in consumer welfare. Federal courts often allow potentially competitive methods that benefit consumers.
But California courts may be more sympathetic to at least some of the claims in the complaint, experts said.
Josh P. Davis, head of the San Francisco Bay Area office at Berger Montag Firm, said, “If you enforce certain laws mechanically, it’s very convenient for a plaintiff in a state court and especially under California law. Is.”
“You can find a judge who says: ‘This is not a federal law. This is a state law. We have a law that says you can’t do that, “said Mr. Davis.
Peter Carstenson, a professor of emeritus law at the University of Wisconsin, said he doubted drivers would be offended by their claims that Uber and Lyft were illegally charging drivers.
But Mr Carstenson said a state judge could rule in favor of plaintiffs on other so-called vertical restrictions, such as concessions that help bind drivers to a single platform, for example, if they complete 70. We guarantee a minimum of $ 1,000. Ride between Monday and Friday. One judge could conclude that these incentives are largely aimed at reducing competition between Uber and Lyft, as they reduce the likelihood of drivers changing platforms and new jigs. Makes it difficult for the platform to hire drivers.
“You’re making it very difficult for a third party to get in,” Mr Carstenson said.
Plaintiff’s attorney, David Selgman, said the lawsuit could benefit from an increase in investigations into anti-competitive practices.
“We believe that policymakers and lawyers and courts across the country are paying close attention and scrutinizing the ways in which dominant companies and corporations are abusing their power in the labor market.” Mr. Selgman said.
Drivers say the rollback of options such as self-fixing has made it more difficult to earn a living as a gigantic worker, especially in recent months as gas prices have risen and competition among drivers has become epidemic. Diseases are beginning to return to normal.
“It’s becoming harder to make money,” said another plaintiff, Ben Valdez, a driver in Los Angeles. “Enough is enough. One person can take it.”