Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in O'Conner v. Uber, a class action that centered on drivers' claim that they should be classified as employees. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order to certify the class action, holding that the drivers must arbitrate their claims individually because arbitration agreements they signed with Uber prevented class claims. This, of course, is not a surprise, as the Supreme Court essentially forced such an outcome in its Epic Systems case from last term. However, this decision from the Ninth Circuit, contrary to some of the media reports I've seen, does not mean that the drivers lost on the question of whether they should be classified as employees. That question is separate from the arbitration one and, as Charlotte Garden has noted, in California at least, the classification issue looking promising for Uber drivers and other workers who might be on the fence in other jurisdictions.
Uber may discover that they should beware of getting what they asked for because they may soon be facing a lot of individual arbitration claims by its drivers. But we shall see.