Lyft, the popular ride-hailing service and major competitor of Uber, will be giving its drivers extra workplace protections following a class action settlement in California. While the workers will not be classified as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they will still be entitled to certain benefits without endangering Lyft’s current business model.
According to the terms of the settlement, Lyft agrees to pay class action claimants a total of $12.25 million and also give its drivers warning before they are deactivated from the company’s platform and no longer eligible for benefits. The agreement also adds that the company cannot deactivate drivers for certain reasons, such as low passenger ratings, without the driver having the opportunity to discuss those issues beforehand. Lastly, Lyft has agreed to pay the arbitration expenses for any of their drivers who want to challenge their prior deactivation or wage dispute.
Both Lyft and Uber drivers have been fighting in separate lawsuits to claim they should be treated as full-fledged employees rather than as contractors, and, thus, entitled to benefits such as reimbursement for gas and vehicle expenses. Lyft drivers are still required to handle those expenses themselves.
Despite not getting everything the Plaintiff’s side asked for, Shannon Liss-Riordan, one of the lawyers for the Lyft drivers, says she believes the settlement is still significantly positive and may lead to more changes down the line. Liss-Riordan also adds that she has noticed an influx of Uber drivers coming forward about similar issues related to being deactivated from the company’s platform as well as wage disputes. She said:
We have not been hearing so many concerns from Lyft drivers, which leads us to believe that Lyft is treating its drivers with more respect than Uber is treating its drivers.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria must approve the settlement before it is final. A hearing on its preliminary approval was scheduled for mid-February in San Francisco.
Source: Claims Journal
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