More than 12K Uber drivers sue over delayed arbitration
- A group of more than 12,500 Uber drivers are suing the company for not responding promptly to arbitration filings, according to a report from Gizmodo. In their various arbitration complaints, the drivers allege that Uber failed to pay them minimum wage, to compensate them properly for overtime and to give them sick leave, among other issues, reported Business Insider.
- The suit from the drivers regarding those complaints stated that Uber has paid only 296 of the filing fees necessary for arbitration procedures to begin. It stated also that Uber has appointed only 47 arbitrators and paid the retainer fee of the arbitrator in only six instances.
- In addition to outlining an arbitration agreement and an option for opting out of it, Uber states in its terms of service for drivers that "in all cases where required by law, the Company will pay the Arbitrator's and arbitration fees." Gizmodo estimated that the fees for each arbitration case could add up to more than $18 million.
The U.S. Supreme Court approved an employer's right to require workers to arbitrate disputes individually when it heard Epic Systems Crop. v. Lewis in May. Though the legality of arbitration is no matter of dispute, employers and experts may still debate its usefulness and efficacy, especially in light of Uber's current situation.
Attorneys pointed out after Epic that arbitration doesn't offer a one-size-fits-all solution to employers nationwide. In fact, several situational factors — such as an employer's number of claims, the cost of the procedure and state laws — can determine whether arbitration makes sense for any given company. "You don't want to arbitrate everything," John Lewis, a partner in the Cleveland office of Baker & Hostetler, LLP, told HR Dive in an interview. "Carefully think through what kind of claims you might have and how it's best to resolve them."
Uber drivers saw an opportunity in the expenses that come alongside arbitration, and they're making a point by running up their employer's bill. The company had previously lauded the financial benefits of arbitration: "The entire purpose of arbitration is to provide an inexpensive and expeditious means of resolving disputes," Uber argued in 2015, according to Business Insider.
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