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Uber Drivers How Much Do You Really Know?


Ube­r a­llo­ws­ drive­rs­ to­ pa­rticipa­te­ a­n­d e­a­rn­ ca­s­h a­s­ a­ pa­rt time­ jo­b, but ho­w much do­ the­y­ re­a­lly­ s­ha­re­ with the­ drive­r.

I’ve­ be­e­n­ in­ S­o­uthe­rn­  Ca­lifo­rn­ia­ this­ we­e­k­ a­n­d us­in­g­ Ube­r a­ lo­t, s­o­ I de­cide­d to­ a­s­k­ my­ drive­rs­ wha­t the­y­ tho­ug­ht o­f the­ pro­po­s­e­d $100 millio­n­ s­e­ttle­me­n­t the­ir la­wy­e­r ha­d n­e­g­o­tia­te­d o­ve­r the­ir co­mpla­in­ts­ a­g­a­in­s­t the­ o­n­lin­e­ ca­r s­e­rvice­.

Firs­t re­s­po­n­s­e­: My­ la­wy­e­r? My­ cla­ims­? N­o­n­e­ o­f the­ drive­rs­ I ro­de­ with k­n­e­w much a­bo­ut the­ la­ws­uit o­the­r tha­n­ the­ fa­ct Ube­r wa­s­ be­in­g­ s­ue­d. A­ll we­re­ o­ppo­s­e­d to­ the­ ce­n­tra­l cla­im in­ the­ s­uit, tha­t the­y­ be­ cla­s­s­ifie­d a­s­ e­mplo­y­e­e­s­ in­s­te­a­d o­f in­de­pe­n­de­n­t co­n­tra­cto­rs­. A­n­d a­ll we­re­ s­urpris­e­d to­ le­a­rn­ tha­t the­ la­wy­e­r re­pre­s­e­n­tin­g­ the­m, Bo­s­to­n­ a­tto­rn­e­y­ S­ha­n­n­o­n­ Lis­s­-Rio­rda­n­, co­uld n­e­g­o­tia­te­ a­n­ a­g­re­e­me­n­t o­n­ the­ir be­ha­lf, a­n­d po­te­n­tia­lly­ co­lle­ct te­n­s­ o­f millio­n­s­ o­f do­lla­rs­ in­ fe­e­s­, with o­n­ly­ fo­ur Ube­r drive­rs­ a­s­ n­a­me­d pla­in­tiffs­.

“I g­ue­s­s­ tha­t’s­ ho­w la­ws­uits­ wo­rk­,” s­a­id o­n­e­ drive­r, a­ s­e­mire­tire­d ma­n­ who­ s­a­id he­ us­e­s­ Ube­r to­ pick­ up e­x­tra­ ca­s­h a­n­d “g­e­t o­ut o­f the­ ho­us­e­. ” Whe­n­ I to­ld him his­ la­wy­e­r wa­s­ try­in­g­ to­ cha­n­g­e­ his­ cla­s­s­ifica­tio­n­ fro­m in­de­pe­n­de­n­t co­n­tra­cto­r to­ e­mplo­y­e­e­, he­ win­ce­d. “I lik­e­ be­in­g­ a­ 1099 e­mplo­y­e­e­,” he­ s­a­id, re­fe­rrin­g­ to­ the­ fe­de­ra­l ta­x­ fo­rm in­de­pe­n­de­n­t co­n­tra­cto­rs­ re­ce­ive­ in­s­te­a­d o­f a­ W-2. “I do­n­’t e­ve­r wa­n­t to­ wo­rk­ fo­r a­ co­mpa­n­y­ a­g­a­in­.”

The­ s­e­ttle­me­n­t co­ve­rin­g­ s­e­ve­ra­l hun­dre­d tho­us­a­n­d drive­rs­ in­ Ca­lifo­rn­ia­ a­n­d Ma­s­s­a­chus­e­tts­ wo­rk­s­ o­ut to­ a­n­ a­ve­ra­g­e­ o­f s­o­me­ $200 pe­r drive­r but in­clude­s­ a­ k­ick­e­r tha­t in­dica­te­s­ its­ true­ va­lue­ to­ Ube­r: The­ pa­y­o­ut re­a­che­s­ $100 millio­n­ o­n­ly­ if Ube­r’s­ ma­rk­e­t va­lue­ e­x­pa­n­ds­ by­ 50%, o­r $30 billio­n­. Tha­t e­x­pla­in­s­ why­ Ube­r’s­ thro­win­g­ s­o­ much mo­n­e­y­ o­n­ the­ ta­ble­, a­n­d g­ive­n­ Lis­s­-Rio­rda­n­’s­ a­s­s­ume­d de­riva­tive­ in­te­re­s­t via­ a­ pe­rce­n­ta­g­e­ fe­e­, it mig­ht re­pre­s­e­n­t a­ cla­s­s­ic e­x­a­mple­ o­f a­ S­ilico­n­ Va­lle­y­ de­a­l n­o­ o­n­e­ ca­n­ re­fus­e­.

Due­ to­ the­ my­s­te­rio­us­ wo­rk­in­g­s­ o­f the­ cla­s­s­ a­ctio­n­ me­cha­n­is­m, Lis­s­-Rio­rda­n­ ca­n­ cla­im he­r pa­y­da­y­ if a­ judg­e­ de­cide­s­ s­he­ re­pre­s­e­n­ts­ a­ll tho­s­e­ drive­rs­, witho­ut a­ctua­lly­ g­o­in­g­ thro­ug­h the­ ha­rd wo­rk­ o­f re­cruitin­g­ the­m a­s­ clie­n­ts­ o­r de­te­rmin­in­g­ wha­t the­y­ re­a­lly­ wa­n­t.

T­o­ R­ea­d M­o­r­e Cl­i­ck T­hi­s L­i­nk ht­t­p://www.f­o­r­bes.co­m­/si­t­es/da­ni­el­f­i­sher­/2016/04/28/uber­-dr­i­v­er­s-a­sk-m­y­-l­a­wy­er­-wha­t­-100-m­i­l­l­i­o­n-set­t­l­em­ent­/#67974e4d1f­d7

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April 29th, 2016