The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruling in June, that an Uber driver was an employee of the company and not an independent driver, set the wheels in motion. And on September 1, 2015, a federal judge granted California-based Uber drivers class-action status.
These most recent lawsuits, filed September 23 in California state court against on-demand delivery companies DoorDash and GrubHub, mirror the misclassification class-action lawsuit filed against Uber at the beginning of September. And all the suits have been filed in San Francisco by California labor attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan.
GrubHub says it is the nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company. It partners with Restaurants on the Run and DiningIn to serve 900+ cities with more than 35,000 restaurants and take-outs. DoorDash is also a food delivery company that employs “DoorDashers” as independent contractors. Both GrubHub and DoorDash drivers are usually commissioned employees who are only paid the delivery fee and tip. Further, drivers typically use their own vehicle, pay their own gas, insurance and any parking or traffic violations.
The class-action lawsuits claim that these “sharing economy” companies have violated the National Labor Relations Act when Uber required drivers in June 2014 to sign an arbitration agreement. This agreement waives drivers’ rights to participate in class or collective action against Uber. The class action against Uber was limited by Judge Edward M. Chen to exclude drivers who accepted Uber’s arbitration agreement after June 2014.
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In a nutshell, if customers don’t tell these drivers to “keep the change” upon delivery they would likely make less than minimum wage. No wonder drivers are hopeful that attorneys such as Shannon Liss-Riordan will successfully represent them and they will be classified as employees. And more to come about whether Uber’s arbitration agreement is unlawful...