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Federal Court Denies Uber Drivers Class-Action Suit

October 6, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—A federal appeals court ruled Sept. 25 that Uber drivers in California cannot file a class-action suit to be treated as employees instead of independent contractors. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that they had to file their complaints against the company through individual arbitration, overturning a 2015 lower-court order that had certified the drivers’ class-action effort. Judge Richard R. Clifton cited the Supreme Court’s May decision that held employers had the right to force workers to sign away any rights they have to class-action suits and instead take complaints to arbitration. Uber issued a statement that it was “pleased” with the decision. Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the drivers, told the Los Angeles Times that the drivers might pursue arbitration en masse. “Thousands of drivers have already signed up for individual arbitration,” she said in an emailed statement. “If Uber wants to resolve these disputes one by one, we are ready to do that—one by one.” The California Supreme Court’s April ruling that workers have to have a genuinely independent business to be classified as independent contractors might be a factor in the drivers’ favor. Read more

October 6, 2018

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