Uber calls them independent contractors, but a group of its drivers in the Boston-area say they are really employees who deserve to make, at the very least, the Massachusetts minimum wage, along with getting overtime and sick leave.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court on Monday, 80 local Uber drivers say they fit the legal definition of "employees" set by Massachusetts law: They are at Uber's beck and call, they have to do everything exactly as the company wants to keep getting rides, they are not performing work outside "the usual course of the hiring entity’s business" and they are not promoting "their independent business separate from working for an employer." The complaint adds:
The difference between what Uber should pay Plaintiffs and what it does pay Plaintiffs is significant. The minimum wage in Massachusetts in 2017 and 2018 was $11 per hour. The minimum wage for 2019 is $12 per hour. But Uber frequently pays many Plaintiffs less than $8 per hour.
Uber does not pay Plaintiffs any overtime for the considerable time they drive more than 40 hours in a week.
Although Massachusetts law requires employers to provide employees with earnings statements that allow them to assess their hourly wage, Uber provides earning statements that omit this information.
The drivers are represented by local lawyer Josh Gardner and by Ashley Keller of Chicago and Warren Postman of Washington, DC., who have filed a similar lawsuit against Uber in California.