Our lawsuits against Uber have generated national press. Just about every major media outlet in the United States has covered the battle between corporate goliath Uber (market capitalization $62 billion) and its drivers. Many of those drivers struggle to earn even minimum wage. Now that battle seems to be going global.
A British law firm has sued Uber in the U.K. The charges? Once again, the transportation giant is being called out for not treating its drivers fairly. According to news reports, Uber must appear in court this week to answer claims that it has improperly classified its drivers as independent contractors and has not assured that they receive Britain’s national minimum wage. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The legal system is a bit different in the the U.K. Here in the United States, claims for unpaid overtime or misclassification are filed by individual drivers. In Great Britain, however, the case was brought by the GMB Union, one of the country’s largest labor groups.
Lawyers for the drivers say that not only are the drivers not assured minimum wages, the union also feels there are safety issues because as independent contractors the drivers receive no mandatory rest breaks and have no set maximum hours they can drive. They worry that some drivers may fall asleep at the wheel simply trying to work enough hours to make ends meet. With an estimated 42,000 Uber drivers in London alone, those concerns appear legitimate.
In a press release an attorney for the union said, “If Uber wishes to operate in this way, and to reap the substantial benefits, then it must acknowledge its responsibilities towards its drivers and the public.” A union representative was quoted as saying, “For far too long drivers have been considered almost ‘Ghosts’ by the public who do not see them as educated or with the same needs, aspirations and desires as themselves.”
Like our case in the United States, much of the case focuses on whether the drivers are properly classified. The tests used in both countries to determine whether workers are employees or contractors are very similar and center on control. Uber dispatches the drivers through its app, pays them, controls how much passengers are charged and requires its drivers to follow particular routes. They also use a ratings system to assess drivers’ performance.
While Uber remains a popular and efficient way of securing transportation in many cities, the public is growing increasingly aware of how the company treats its drivers. As the novelty of transportation network companies wears off, the reality of how drivers and the public should be protected is getting increased scrutiny. Some U.S. states are now debating how much insurance must be carried by drivers, who must carry that insurance, whether drivers are contractors or employees and the types of background checks that must be performed on new drivers.
Uber Drivers and MahanyLaw
The lawyers at MahanyLaw are proud to represent Uber drivers in several pending and planned actions. From unpaid benefits to unpaid overtime, our focus is making sure that Uber drivers are not treated like second class citizens. As with the robber barons of the Industrial Age, we are once again seeing big corporations like Uber making billions while drivers can’t even afford to feed their families. Without dedicated and professional drivers, however, Uber wouldn’t even exist.
For more information about our Uber litigation or to give us information, please write to us in care of attorney Katherine Holiday at (We get contacted as many 50 times daily. Unfortunately, we can’t always respond to every telephone call but do return calls and answer our emails. With approximately 500,000 present and recent Uber drivers in the U.S., it is impossible to answer all our calls but we do respond. Thank you for your understanding.)
MahanyLaw – America’s Wage Theft Lawyers, Proudly Representing Uber Drivers