Uber Driver Class Action Rides On

Uber Technologies, the on-call ride service, must face class action claims that its no-tipping policy violates Massachusetts law and amounts to unjust enrichment and contract violations.

A federal judge last week denied Uber’s motion to dismiss the claims.  Uber did not seek dismissal of the central issue; that Uber misclassifies its drivers as independent contractors when drivers argue they are employees.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen did dismiss claims of breach of contract and violation of Massachusetts minimum wage law and overtime laws, but he also gave the drivers another chance to amend the complaint and restore those claims.

The case, originally filed in Massachusetts by former drivers, was transferred to San Francisco under a clause in the Uber contract requiring lawsuits be handled there.

Uber argued that the tips law violation claim had to be dismissed because the drivers failed to say that a portion of the fare paid by riders “was intended to be a gratuity for the driver.”

“Uber is wrong,” Chen wrote. The plaintiffs complaint clearly states that Uber has advertised to customers that a gratuity is included in the cost of its car service but that Uber drivers do not receive the total proceeds of any gratuity.

Second, Uber says its current contract with riders “makes it abundantly clear” no portion of the fare is intended to be a tip for drivers, Chen said. Chen ruled he could not consider that contention at this point in the case.

Chen gave the drivers 21 days to fix deficiencies in the pleadings of the dismissed claims.

Case: Yucesoy v. Uber Technologies, 15-cv-262


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