Last week, Uber settled two class action lawsuits with drivers in California and Massachusetts. The big upshot is that Uber drivers will continue to be classified as independent contractors and not employees. In their statement, the attorneys for the drivers acknowledged the legal risks of their case with Uber including the risk that a jury would favor Uber, that the class certification would be overturned on appeal, and that the parties would be required to arbitrate before going to court. The attorneys for the drivers said:
And if we chose not to settle this case, we faced risks. We faced the risk that a jury in San Francisco … may not side with the drivers over Uber. We faced a risk that the Ninth Circuit may disagree with the district court on his rulings certifying the case as a class action and holding Uber’s arbitration clause to be unenforceable. If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had disagreed with the district court on either of these two points, then the vast majority of Uber drivers would never receive anything at all for these claims and the non-monetary changes that are being made as a result of this settlement would not occur. Just recently, the Ninth Circuit issued an unusual order agreeing to review the district court’s class certification order right away, possibly before the upcoming trial (and may have issued an order to delay the trial). And even if the Ninth Circuit agreed with us and affirmed the district court’s rulings regarding class certification and arbitration, Uber made clear it would try to appeal this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been quite friendly in recent years to companies using arbitration agreements to prevent individuals from banding together to hold companies accountable to complying with the laws on a classwide basis.
The attorneys were wise to settle the case.
Read the full statement from the drivers attorneys: