LOS ANGELES — A group of Uber drivers who filed a wage suit against the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) have formally asked a federal court to grant them conditional class certification. The plaintiffs stated that there was sufficient evidence to show that the proposed class was subjected to the same wage policies and practices that are being challenged. The plaintiffs are requesting that the court allow them to notify members of the proposed collective action so that they could be given the option to opt in to the suit. According to the plaintiffs, they would post the notice on a website for the suit, in addition to postcards and social media. The class would cover all drivers who worked more than forty hours a week for Uber from August 11, 2013 to the present.
The plaintiffs allege that Uber drivers should not be considered independent contractors because they have little discretion in their driving work for the ride-hailing service. The drivers allegedly get access to passengers through Uber’s mobile application, which controls almost all aspects of the drivers’ work. Therefore, the plaintiffs claim that uber drivers are entitled to basic wage protections such as overtime, rest and meal breaks, minimum wage, and others. These include Uber drivers in California who work as many as 16 hours per day or 60 hours a week for the company.
The Test for Independent Contractors
The U.S. Department of Labor has provided guidance stating that a legal test called the “economic realities” test should be used to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor under FLSA. This test is used to determine whether an individual is economically dependent on the putative employer (and thus an employee) or is really in the business for him or herself (and thus is an independent contractor). A worker who is economically dependent on an employer is suffered or permitted to work by the employer, which provides a broader scope of employment than older common law standards. This test weighs heavily in favor of classification of workers as employees. An agreement between an employer and a worker designating or labeling the worker as an independent contractor is not indicative of the economic realities of the working relationship and is not relevant to the analysis of the worker’s status.
Employee misclassification remains a substantial issue that leaves many workers without the valuable protections of FLSA and other labor laws. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel your employee wage rights have been violated because you have been misclassified as an independent contractor. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.