Uber & & Lyft drivers in Austin take legal action against companies

When Uber and Lyft quickly halted services in Austin, Texas, on May 9, countless drivers unexpectedly lost work. The ride-hailing business pulled out of the city after losing a vote that would have required stricter background checks for motorists, consisting of fingerprinting. Now some of their drivers are taking legal action against the business for not providing them enough notification of termination. In two separate fits, one against each company, drivers assert that they were entitled to at least 60-days notification under the Worker Modification and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The federal law needs companies with 100 or more employees to give 60 days notice before a mass layoff. The drivers are requesting for 60-days back pay and benefits. The lawyers are seeking class action status. Related: Austin drivers in the lurch after Uber, Lyft exit Uber and Lyft declared that needing fingerprinting would be pricey and decrease the hiring of new motorists, making it hard to do business. Voters were asked to pick the issue, and Prop 1 went to the surveys on Saturday, Might 7. Even though Uber and Lyft sunk more than $8 million into a project versus the new rules, voters sided with the city. Though the ongoing fight was well known, Uber and Lyft didn’t officially reveal they would pull out of the cities up until the eve of the election. The significant relocation had not been needed by the city of Austin, which had offered the business till February 2017 to fulfill the new requirements. “Uber and Lyft intentionally waited until the eve of the Prop 1 vote to in fact state they were going to leave Austin, and they did that because they wanted maximum impact for the vote,” said John Davis, an attorney at Slack & & Davis, LLP, which is managing both fits. Todd Johnston, the complainant in the match versus Uber, says he ‘d been driving for the company for a year, averaging about 30 hours a week. Now he’s looking for other work. David Thornton had been driving approximately 38 hours a week for Lyft given that October 2015. He is likewise job searching. “They were really blindsided and had very little notice that a major source of, or their main source of, earnings was going to dry up,” said Davis. Davis says his firm has talked to other drivers in comparable circumstances however would not say how many. Both Uber and Lyft said they had more than 10,000 motorists working in the city at the time of the vote. Related: Uber and Lyft leave Austin after losing vote on fingerprinting The argument comes back to a problem that has followed ride-hailing companies considering that their creation: whether or not drivers are workers. The WARN act is meant to protect workers. Uber and Lyft have actually been determined that motorists are just independent contractors, and not subject to a variety of advantages and protections afforded employees under federal and state laws. Not everyone concurs. The business are in the middle of sizable class action claims over the classification, however neither settlement would make drivers workers. Davis believes drivers qualify as workers under the WARN act and potentially under California typical law. The suits were submitted with the United States District Court in Northern California where both business are based. Uber and Lyft have 21 days to respond to the suits. Neither company responded to a demand for remark.

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