Drivers who worked for ride-hailing service Uber in California and Massachusetts over the past seven years would have been entitled to an estimated $730 million in expense reimbursements had they been employees rather than contractors, according to court documents made public on Monday. Uber and smaller rival Lyft are attempting to settle lawsuits by drivers who contend they should be classified as employees and therefore entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gasoline and vehicle maintenance. Drivers currently pay those costs themselves.
According to attorneys for Uber drivers, the total potential damages in the case are $852 million, when including a claim to recover tips. The figure is based on rates for mileage reimbursement set by the U.S. government and on data provided by Uber Technologies Inc. The company, meanwhile, calculates damages at $429 million, mainly due to a lower mileage rate. The figures had been redacted in the original settlement deal proposed last month, but a San Francisco federal judge ordered them unsealed. The new data reveals how much of a risk employee classification is for on-demand tech companies like Uber. The proposed $100 million settlement keeps Uber drivers classified as contractors, though U.S. regulators are still reviewing the issue. Read more….
- Employee or independent contractor?