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Uber Drivers Appeal Lower Court's Decision Requiring Them to Arbitrate Wage Claims

A proposed class of drivers appealed the lower court's decision requiring them to arbitrate their wage claims on an individual basis against the ride-hailing company, Uber Technologies Inc. ("Uber" or the "Company"). Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge James S. Moody Jr. rejected all three arguments made by the drivers, that: (1) the arbitration clause was unconscionable; (2) the provision requiring drivers to split the cost of arbitration was unlawful; and (3) the forum selection provision was unlawful. Coming before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the drivers have now argued that the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") bars the arbitration clause in the user agreements.

In response, Uber asserted that the drivers failed to previously bring the FAA argument before the lower court. Moreover, even if the drivers raised this issue before, Uber asserted that such argument will fail on the merits because the work performed by the drivers cannot be considered interstate commerce as defined under the FAA. Although some drivers may cross state lines, Uber stated that transportation of people is not the same as "goods."

The Complaint was initially filed against Uber this past January, and alleged that Uber misclassified its drivers as independent contractors, when they should have been classified as employees. Plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and the class, asserted that Uber violated not only the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, but also the Fair Labor and Standards Act by failing to pay them minimum wage and overtime.

The legal team at SFMS has substantial experience litigating employment matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Nick Lussier (nlussier@sfmslaw.com) or Chiharu Sekino (csekino@sfmslaw.com). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP, is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. SFMS is an active member of Integrated Advisory Group (www.iaginternational.org), which provides our firm with the ability to provide our clients with access to excellent legal and accounting resources throughout the globe. For more information about our firm, please visit us at www.sfmslaw.com.

Source: Penton, Kevin. "Uber Drivers Urge 11th Circ. To Revive Wage Suit." Law360. Portfolio Media, Inc. 19 Sept. 2016. Web. 

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