November 8, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – The National Labor Relations Board on Nov. 1 urged a federal appeals court to rule that Uber’s compulsory-arbitration contract provisions illegally block drivers from joining class-action lawsuits.
In an amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the NLRB asked it to reject Uber’s arguments that it should dismiss a class-action suit by 385,000 drivers who are contending that they are employees, not independent contractors, because the company’s standard contract requires drivers to resolve disputes with the company individually, through private arbitration. Employees have a right to engage in concerted activity for workplace protection, the board argued, and having them sign an agreement that waives that right violates the purpose of the National Labor Relations Act. Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer representing the drivers, said the amicus brief shows that the NLRB “sees this case as raising a significant issue.” The Ninth Circuit previously ruled in another case that Uber’s arbitration agreements were largely valid and enforceable. Read more