A group of UberBLACK drivers in Philadelphia has alleged that Uber failed
to provide them basic workplace protections, including minimum wages.
Despite Uber’s multiple attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed,
it continues to build strength and legal support. Recently, United States
District Judge Michael Baylson disapproved of Uber’s most-recent
dismissal motion and approved the drivers’ lawsuit. The three drivers
are represented by Attorney Jeremy E. Abay of Sacks Weston Diamond.
History of the Philadelphia UberBLACK Case
Uber initially sought to have the class action dismissed on the basis that
the drivers signed agreements requiring them to litigate their disputes
individually in arbitration. The plaintiffs argued that they, and some
240 other Philadelphia drivers, sent Uber notice that they did not want
to participate in Uber’s arbitration program, as was permitted by
the agreement. In refusing to dismiss the case, Judge Baylson agreed with
the plaintiffs, noting that the opt-out notices distinguished the Philadelphia
case from others filed around the country.
In its most recent motion, Uber contested the plaintiff’s individual
claims, stating that the UberBLACK drivers did not keep track of their
own wages and pay rates. The drivers pointed out that the Fair Labor Standards
Act (FLSA) removed that specific duty from an employee’s responsibility
and instead placed it back onto the employer. Judge Baylson agreed with
the plaintiffs and reaffirmed that Uber should have been keeping its own
detailed records of driver wages and earnings.
Within the claim, it was noted that Uber makes automatic deductions from
a driver’s salary. The deductions range from fees implemented by
the Philadelphia Parking Authority to necessary monthly premiums paid
to automobile insurance providers. Uber will take the deductions from
an individual driver even if there are financial records to show that
they had not made enough money that month through Uber to pay for said
The automatic deductions stood out in particular to Attorney Jeremy E.
Abay, who recently commented: "There is something fundamentally wrong
with a company that is worth 65 billion dollars but refuses to afford
its drivers—who are the heart and face of the business—basic
Overtime Claims To Be Amended
Besides being given less than minimum wage, the same class of plaintiffs
alleged that Uber was not giving them overtime pay. Judge Baylson ordered
the plaintiffs to add additional detail to their complaint in this respect.
He determined that there was not enough evidence, concrete or inferential,
of missing overtime pay to proceed with the complaint in its current state.
Other Lawsuits Against Uber
The ongoing case in Philadelphia is not the only legal trouble Uber is
currently facing. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance has brought a case
against the popular ridesharing service company for also allegedly breaking
overtime and minimum wage regulations in New York. Another class action,
which is being based in an Illinois court, cites potential employee classification
issues and disputes over how much of a tip goes to the driver and how
much goes to Uber. There are also talks of personal injury lawsuits targeting
Uber for damages caused by drivers using their app and “on-the-job”
at the time of a car accident.
All of these cases are in development. It does appear, at least, that the
Philadelphia case fronted by Attorney Jeremy E. Abay is making some welcome
headway for the plaintiffs. For more information regarding this lawsuit
as it develops, be sure to
visit our blog frequently. For other questions about
complex litigation cases handled by Sacks Weston Diamond LLC, new clients can
contact our Philadelphia litigation lawyers by calling