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Employees Can’t Really Sue Uber: Here’s Why

Employees Can’t Really Sue Uber: Here’s Why
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Last year, some Uber drivers lost their jobs after the ride-hailing app company decided to discontinue its transportation service in Austin, Texas. In response, the drivers decided to sue the company, but certain arbitration clauses prevented them from doing so. So, they approached a federal judge requesting a nullification of these clauses allowing a lawsuit to go forward against the company.

Todd Johnston, lead plaintiff, sued Uber in June 2016, stating that the company violated the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act when it suddenly stopped its operations in Austin, Texas. The reason Uber pulled out was because voters rejected a proposal to implement stringent fingerprinting background checks for drivers, part of the Uber-Lyft agreement.

During a hearing, attorney John Davis told a U.S. District Judge that the WARN Act has a provision where employees can file a class action against the employer. The WARN Act passed in 1988 with a margin of veto-proof without the approval of President Ronald Reagan. WARN states that companies with more than 100 employees should give at least 60 days notice before a mass layoff.

However, attorney Keith Jacoby who represents Uber commented that even though the WARN Act gives the right to workers to sue their employees, it does not override another statute, the Federal Arbitration Act, which describes the right to resolve disputes through private arbitration.

Commenting on the lawsuit filed by Johnston, Jacoby said the arbitration agreement is a choice made by the individual, and when the talk is around arbitration agreements, the hearing effectually has no meaning.

Last September, the Ninth Circuit overturned the ruling put forth by Edward Chen in a separate case, and ruled the arbitration agreements for Uber drivers in 2013-2014 were considered valid. This ruling had a tremendous spinoff on other multiple labor class actions against Uber. The dispute was around classification by Uber on drivers designated as contractors. This is what the drivers want to resolve before they make their claims on WARN Act violations.

Davis said regardless of the Ninth Circuit ruling, WARN Act violations must be contested in a district court and the right to pursue those claims cannot be waived.

Anirudh M. for TechFunnel.com


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Anirudh Menon
Anirudh Menon
I have adorned multiple hats during my professional journey. My experience of 14 years comes in areas like Sales, Customer Service and Marketing. My journey as a professional writer started 5 years back, when I started writing for an in-house magazine for my employer. Having successfully delivered many in-house projects, it encouraged me to take my skill to the world. As on day, I have written articles, blogs website content for various industries like Information Technology, Start-up, Retail and Government. The subjects that I have covered range from Digital Marketing, SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Computing, Content Marketing , Politics. Enhancement is a process and I constantly thrive to add more subjects in my portfolio. Over and above content writing, I also train language and communication to students who want to brush up their speaking skills. I am a part time trainer for IELTS coaching and also work as a budding voice over artist.

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