NLRB backs Uber drivers in their fight for wage protections
- Uber drivers earned another ally in their battle for the same wage protections as employees and not independent contractors. The National Labor Relations Board wants a federal appeals court to weigh the board’s view on the “gig” economy’s treatment of workers before ruling on the Uber drivers’ class-action suit, reports the Employee Benefit Adviser.
- The NLRB is questioning whether Uber’s contract unlawfully bars drivers from taking part in class-action suits. Uber’s contracts require drivers to settle disputes through in-house arbitration, unless they opt out of the agreement. The NLRB is arguing its case on Wednesday.
- An Uber spokesperson claims the court already agreed that the company can enforce its contracts and that they don’t violate the National Labor Relations Act. The Uber drivers’ lawsuit is being called a serious legal threat to Uber business model, says the Employee Benefit Adviser. Uber’s critics say that drivers rack up expenses, like car maintenance and mileage, while the company is saving money.
Some companies, especially small businesses, often rely on independent contractors’ services in the “gig” economy. The lawsuit, if upheld, could force companies to raise their costs by treating contractors like paid staff and absorbing some of their expenses.
Employers should have contracts thoroughly reviewed to see if they violate workers’ rights in any way. Although many companies do use arbitration to settle cases, keeping workers from exercising their right to go to court has been successfully challenged. Recently, companies have been calling for a decision on arbitration agreements from the Supreme Court, but nothing official has been taken up yet.