A recent ruling by a United States District Court judge in San Francisco was a win for California Uber-drivers. In the case, Ronald Gillette et al. vs. Uber Technologies et al., the plaintiff, Ronald Gillette, brought the suit late last year with hopes of making it a class action. The lawsuit specifically claims that Uber, a popular ride-share service facing legal and regulatory challenges around the world, violated fair credit reporting laws.
Gillette started driving for Uber in the San Francisco Bay Area in March 2013. His access to the Uber smart-phone application was “abruptly deactivated” in April 2014. According to Gillette, an Uber representative told him he was terminated because “‘something had come up’ on his consumer background report.” Gillette sued Uber on November 26, 2014, alleging claims under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, individual claims under California’s Investigative Consumer Report Agencies Act, and representative claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act.
Uber tried to force the lawsuit into arbitration, which is a stipulation lined out in its 2013 and 2014 employment contracts. Arbitration, an alternative form of dispute resolution in which a third-party arbitrator settles a dispute, is generally viewed as favorable for corporate defendants. The judge, however, found that the contractual requirements of arbitration were “unconscionable, and therefore unenforceable.” This ruling will allows the background check lawsuits to continue in federal court. Uber made a statement saying that it disagrees with the arbitration ruling and plans on appealing the decision.
The judge held that Uber drivers’ right to opt out of arbitration was “illusory” because the language was buried on the second-to-last page of the 2013 agreement. The ruling could make it possible for more drivers to join other class actions currently pending against Uber.
Sacramento, CA 95821