Uber insists that its 160,000 US drivers are not employees but independent contractors, and is fighting a legal battle to make sure it stays that way.
Uber today filed a motion to oppose class certification of a lawsuit filed in January by three of its drivers who seek employee status with the company and to represent their fellow drivers as a class. Whereas a class action suit typically involves a group that shares similar grievances, Uber says that its drivers are too diverse for that classification.
In its motion, Uber stated in part:
… Plaintiffs themselves are woefully inadequate and atypical class representatives under Rule 23(a),” Uber’s motion reads. “For example, one of the named Plaintiffs admits to having defrauded Uber out of more than $25,000. Moreover, Plaintiffs are taking positions directly contrary to the desires of many of the very people they claim to represent — who do not want to be employees and view Uber as having liberated them from traditional employment.
In support of its argument, Uber included statements from 400 of its drivers in support of its position. Indeed, some drivers emphatically denied any wish to be Uber employees.
One driver, Christopher Martinez of Los Angeles, went so far as to state that he would quit if Uber tried to impose employee status on him, “because I value my freedom as an independent contractor too much, I don’t want Uber to tell me when or where I have to drive, and I think I would probably make less money as an employee than I can make as an independent contractor.”
Attorneys for the plaintiffs maintain their position saying that more than 1,000 have already contacted them in support of the class action employee claim.
Uber’s motion will be heard by Judge Chen on August 6.