FAQs on Lawsuits Against Uber and Lyft
- I have been contacted by a representative of the Labor Commissioner’s Office asking for information about my experience as an Uber/Lyft driver, how do I proceed?
- How will the Labor Commissioner determine how much each driver gets paid in her lawsuits against Uber and Lyft? What time/fare calculations will be used in the lawsuit?
- Will the Labor Commissioner settle for a much smaller number, even if drivers may be owed tens of thousands in unpaid minimum wage and mileage?
- Can drivers pursue their own lawsuits separate from the Labor Commissioner’s lawsuits?
- How far back do the Labor Commissioner’s lawsuits extend?
- How do the Labor Commissioner’s lawsuits affect people who worked in California during that period but now live out of state?
- Should drivers who have not filed wage claims file now?
- How does this lawsuit affect my individual claim?
- May the Labor Commissioner recover unpaid wages owed to drivers who have already settled a claim?
- May the Labor Commissioner recover unpaid wages for drivers who settled thru arbitration or direct settlement through class counsel?
Deputy Labor Commissioners routinely investigate wage theft and seek to interview employees who are victims of wage theft. The Labor Commissioner has reached out to some drivers to learn about their experiences. If further information is needed from you, a Deputy Labor Commissioner will reach out to you.
The amount drivers are owed will be subject to the determination of the Court. The Labor Commissioner will seek Uber and Lyft’s records to prove what unpaid wages are owed to drivers. The Labor Commissioner will seek unpaid wages to the fullest extent consistent with the law.
It is important to note that the Labor Commissioner is the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The lawsuit is not a class action on behalf of drivers. The Labor Commissioner’s Office does not represent you and does not provide any legal advice or representation to you. However, the Labor Commissioner has authority under state law to recover unpaid wages and penalties owed to workers and the state. The Labor Commissioner will provide updates on the status of her lawsuit periodically.
The case is still in the initial stages, and it is too early to determine the exact amount that drivers are owed or to comment on the possibility of settlement. However, it is clear that when employers misclassify their workers, employees may be owed large sums of unpaid wages. The Labor Commissioner will seek to recover unpaid wages to the fullest extent consistent with the law.
The Labor Commissioner’s Office cannot provide legal advice to drivers, and the determination whether a driver should pursue a separate lawsuit should be made in consultation with legal counsel. While Uber and Lyft drivers may continue to file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, these claims will be dismissed as the Labor Commissioner is seeking to recover unpaid wages and civil penalties owed to all Uber and Lyft drivers through her lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda Superior Court.
Claims for unpaid wages, liquidated damages and recovery of business expenses, where the right to these amounts is based on provisions of the California Labor Code, are governed by a three-year statute of limitations. Civil penalties are subject to a shorter, one-year statute of limitations. As a the result of an emergency rule adopted in response to the COVID pandemic, there has been a limited suspension of the running of these statutes of limitations, so that the Labor Commissioner’s lawsuits against Uber and Lyft are deemed to have been filed, for purposes of these statutes of limitations, on April 6, 2020. Thus, claims for unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and reimbursement of business expenses will run back to April 6, 2017.
The Labor Commissioner’s lawsuits seek to recover wages owed to all drivers who were California employees, regardless of where they live now.
A wage claim is not necessary for the Labor Commissioner to recover unpaid wages owed to you. Because the Labor Commissioner has chosen to file a lawsuit to recover unpaid wages owed to all workers, as long as these lawsuits are proceeding, new wage claims against Uber and Lyft will be dismissed.
The Labor Commissioner is the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The lawsuit is not a class action on behalf of drivers. The Labor Commissioner’s Office does not represent you and does not provide any legal advice or representation to you. However, the Labor Commissioner has authority under state law to recover unpaid wages and penalties owed to workers and the state. The Labor Commissioner will provide updates on the status of her lawsuit periodically through the following webpage: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Lawsuits-Uber-Lyft.html
Individually filed wage claims will not proceed through regular wage claim process. Claims filed by Uber and Lyft drivers are dismissed by the Wage office as they cannot proceed in two venues for the same issues.
Approximately 5,000 individual wage claims against Uber and Lyft were dismissed in accordance with Labor Code section 98(a), which provides that the Labor Commissioner, in her discretion, may elect to file a lawsuit against an employer as an alternative to holding hearings on individual wage claims against that employer.
Proceeding by a single lawsuit, rather than thousands of administrative proceedings, helps to preserve state resources.
In addition, proceeding by a single lawsuit enables the Labor Commissioner to seek to recover amounts owed to all of Uber and Lyft’s drivers, not just those who filed claims.
Finally, the Labor Commissioner is able to seek recovery for a wider range of statutory violations than those asserted in the individual wage claims.
It depends on the terms of the settlement, the issues and claims covered by the settlement, as well as the period of time that the settlement covers. Please consult with private counsel to determine if settlement precludes further recovery.
If you are a member of a class action settlement, you are represented by class counsel, and you should consult with class counsel to determine if that settlement precludes further recovery.