Just weeks ago Uber assembled 400 of its drivers to testify on the company’s behalf in an employee classification lawsuit stating they would like to stay classified as contractors, but now some of those drivers have changed their minds, Re/code reported Monday (Aug. 3).
Six of the 400 drivers spoke with the law firm representing the plaintiffs in the suit and now want to speak against the ride-hailing company. New court declarations were submitted stating the drivers were misled by Uber about the distinction between contractors and employees.
According to Re/code, each of the declarations ended with the same statement:
“I was not informed that the case challenged our not receiving tips that passengers were told were included in the fare, nor was I told that, if the case was successful, there was a possibility of my being reimbursed for expenses such as a mileage reimbursement. I would like to have my expenses reimbursed should I be entitled to obtain them under the law.”
A lot is at stake for Uber if it does not win the classification suit.
The company could face having to reclassify all of its Californian drivers as employees, which would eventually cost the company millions in payroll taxes annually, as well as back pay and penalties.
Uber submitted a document to the court defending its practices, which stated, “Plaintiffs’ claim that ‘Uber obtained [driver] declarations under false pretenses’ is baseless, unsupported by the handful of driver declarations Plaintiffs submitted, and rests solely on hearsay testimony from Plaintiffs’ counsel’s paralegal,” Re/code reported.
In response to the driver testimonial reversal, Uber told Re/code, “Four hundred drivers enthusiastically came forward to provide declarations about exactly how much they value the independence and flexibility of driving with Uber. These declarations demonstrate exactly what drivers have said repeatedly: That they prefer to have flexibility, control and be their own boss.”