Uber sued for denying drivers tips

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A class action lawsuit filed against Uber, a tech-based service that connects riders to drivers and has filled San Francisco streets with sleek black town cars, alleges that the company is cheating its drivers out of tips.

The suit also charges that drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors under California law.

Uber's website tells customers there is "no need to tip," and drivers are prohibited from accepting any extra cash. The complaint alleges that "drivers do not receive the tips that are customary in the car service industry and that they would otherwise receive were it not for Uber's communication to customers that they do not need to tip."

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco's Northern District on Aug. 16. Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan told us that by withholding tips, "Uber is artificially trying to make the total price look lower — and in doing so, they're hurting the drivers."

Douglas O'Connor, named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said that when he started working as an Uber driver in San Francisco about 10 months ago, he was told not to accept tips because they were included in the service fees automatically charged to customers' credit cards. But there's nothing in his paycheck to indicate whether he has received a gratuity or for what amount, O'Connor said.

"For some of the drivers there has been a line item, but that line item that's called the gratuity has not gone to the drivers," Liss-Riordan explained. In those cases, it appears Uber takes half, she said. And in cases like O'Connor's, "There is no separate gratuity that's going to the drivers," Liss-Riordan said, so the representation that any tip was included in the first place is "a lie."

Uber spokesperson Andrew Noyes told the Guardian, "While we have not yet been served with this complaint, the allegations made against our company are entirely without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously... Frivolous lawsuits like this cost valuable time, money, and resources that are better spent making cities more accessible."

Comments

their employees may accept gratuities or not.

I respect Uber's business decision. Do you?

Posted by anon on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

The drivers who work WITH Uber-- are independent, and SELF employed...tips are a standard practice in the american car for hire industry.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

Kinda like WalMart "associates."

Posted by Greg on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:46 pm

Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success.

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Posted by samdee on Jun. 20, 2014 @ 2:40 am

A policy decision is one thing. But if the public and the drivers have been misled into believing that the drivers are being tipped out of the funds paid to Uber, then the lawsuit is not frivolous at all.

The article unfortunately does not provide a lot of detail regarding the allegations.

Uber's response is wanting to say the least. They haven't even seen the complaint and they are calling the lawsuit frivolous? The correct response should have been that while they do not believe that they have done anything wrong, the company takes driver and customer satisfaction very seriously. Maybe adding something in there w/r/t increasing efforts at transparency. They're a young company, so I guess they get a pass.

Posted by Lawmuse on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

That excuse " they are a young company" is ridiculous...plenty of other young companies operate with finding themselves in contentious situations everywhere they operate

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

yes, they are a good company and for sure they will do many good things for the society!

Posted by zimbio on Jan. 09, 2014 @ 3:49 am

A policy decision is one thing. But if the public and the drivers have been misled into believing that the drivers are being tipped out of the funds paid to Uber, then the lawsuit is not frivolous at all.

The article unfortunately does not provide a lot of detail regarding the allegations.

Uber's response is wanting to say the least. They haven't even seen the complaint and they are calling the lawsuit frivolous? The correct response should have been that while they do not believe that they have done anything wrong, the company takes driver and customer satisfaction very seriously. Maybe adding something in there w/r/t increasing efforts at transparency. They're a young company, so I guess they get a pass.

Posted by Lawmuse on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

They decided that they could not and every driver who agreed to work for them signed a contract saying that they agreed not to take tips.

End of story.

Posted by anon on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 2:21 pm

I've actually researched this very issue, and it appears to me that Uber has no leg to stand on. The state and feds have very clear definitions of what does and does not constitute an independent contractor, and what the drivers signed has virtually no bearing on whether they are or they aren't independent contractors. They could sign a contract explicitly stating "I agree to be classified as an independent contractor" and the state doesn't give a damn. It's the actual relationship between employee and employer that matters. There are several criteria that are looked at, but control over the employee's work is primary. Well telling them they can't take tips if they work "with" Uber is a HUGE "control over the way you do your work" issue! But don't take my word for it. Look up what the California Department of Labor has to say about independent contractors. California actually has some pretty good independent contractor laws.

For starters, according to a new 2011 law, Uber faces just punitive fines of $25,000 to $75,000 per violation. And the best part is, if the AG declines to impose the fines, The California Private Attorney General Act allows a private attorney to step in an collect those fines on behalf of his clients! Absolutely delicious! And this doesn't even begin to go into compensatory damages and lawyers fees.

Troll all you want, anon, but fortunately for these drivers, what you say will have no bearing on the outcome of this suit. Nor will Uber's pronouncements, which will be dutifully parroted in the corporate press. Nor will Ed Lee and his cadre of techno-cronies decide. None of that will matter in a court of law.

Uber is soooo screwed. Uber screwed.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:19 am

what the "sharing economy" really means.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:26 am

I know what you mean, that is my opinion, too!

Posted by Minkner on Jan. 07, 2014 @ 2:08 am

The tips are excellent and I will use them during my wedding ceremony!

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This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see.Good post with useful tips and ideas.

Posted by WWW on Mar. 25, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

Maybe adding something in there w/r/t increasing efforts at transparency. They're a young company, so I guess they get a pass.

Posted by Harga Hp dan spesifikasi on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:31 pm

If Uber drivers could get tips just like any other taxi company, and if Uber didn't violate the California and federal independent contractor law, they'd be just like every other taxi company!

Which they are.

Well, except for the thing about no insurance.

And no background check.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:50 pm

The tips are excellent and I will use them during my wedding ceremony!

Posted by Serwis samochodów on Mar. 15, 2014 @ 12:46 am

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