INDIANAPOLIS -- An Uber driver has filed a class-action lawsuit against the ride sharing company in Indiana, arguing they misclassify drivers as independent contractors instead of employees.
Attorney Vess Miller says the distinction is important for basic wage protections for employees – things like overtime pay, meal breaks and reimbursement of expenses.
He says by labeling drivers as independent contractors, Uber is evading those protections outlined in the law. Miller also argues drivers aren't independent. He says the company controls how they make their money – and, because of the misclassification, and the fact that passengers aren't allowed to tip, Miller says most Uber drivers earn less than minimum wage.
"By the time the driver pays their expenses of a ride, there's often very little left, depending on how far the trip was, the expenses incurred and what the fare was at the time," Miller said.
A spokesman for Uber released the following statement about the lawsuit Friday afternoon:
“Nearly 90 percent of drivers say the main reason they use Uber is because they love being their own boss. As employees, drivers would have set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and lose the ability to drive with other ridesharing apps—as well as the personal flexibility they most value.”
Miller says the plaintiffs could include as many as 1,000 current or former drivers for Uber in Indiana, dating back to 2010. Right now, there is only one plaintiff.
Uber has settled previous lawsuits with drivers in California and Massachusetts.