Uber is again in the headlines, this time for allegedly withholding important rights of employment from its drivers. The ridesharing service has claimed that it functions only as an intermediary for people to find transport. However, its drivers disagree and every month more examples of how this negatively affects both drivers and consumers is revealed.
The large case resulted in a $100 million settlement as reported by the NY Times. At the heart of the matter is whether or not Uber drivers are employees or contract workers.
The plaintiffs claimed that they are are employees and were entitled to basic rights, including earning minimum wage and receiving basic benefits. Uber countered that these drivers were ineligible for even these paltry concessions.
Now it appears that Uber has been forced to the table. In a large settlement, Uber has agreed to some of the plaintiffs’ terms. While the company is not granting the drivers salaries or benefits, Uber will be paying about $100 million to the nearly 400,000 drivers in the class action suit. They will also share more information regarding drivers disallowed from using the service and assisting drivers in organizing themselves.
Uber maintains that these concessions do not mean that the drivers are legally employees. However, this is an important step is assuring higher quality and more accountability for a service that has been embroiled in many lawsuits and criminal behavior of some of its drivers.
Still, considering that the company is valued at $62.5 billion these concessions represent a small share of the profit these drivers bring to Uber. There is still plenty of room for improvement but hopefully this settlement will be an important step along this process.