Uber drivers in California are suing the ride-sharing firm, claiming the “fixed barrage” of messages in its app violates employees’ rights. The group of drivers is in search of as much as $260 million in penalties, saying in a press launch that Uber is “illegally exploiting its financial energy over its California-based drivers by pressuring them to assist the Sure on 22 marketing campaign.”
The drivers say they’ve been getting messages studying “Prop 22 is progress,” and receiving in-app warnings about what would occur if Prop 22 have been to fail. They need to click on “OK” earlier than they will transfer ahead within the app. “Nearly each time we go online, we’re fed extra one-sided data to stress us into supporting Prop 22,” Ben Valdez, a driver for Uber and one of many plaintiffs within the case, mentioned in a press release. That features in-app movies of drivers talking about why “Prop 22 would make a distinction,” reinforcing Uber’s stance that the measure ought to cross.
California legislation prohibits employers from attempting to affect workers’ political actions by threatening a lack of employment, in keeping with the press launch. The lawsuit, which was first reported by The Washington Publish, takes goal at what it calls Uber’s wrongful efforts to dictate to its drivers how they need to vote within the upcoming election. However it’s not clear whether or not the legislation would apply to Uber drivers, all of whom are impartial contractors, not workers — the very standing that’s up for debate within the Prop 22 battle.
“Let’s be completely clear,” mentioned lawyer David Lowe, of Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, in a press release saying the lawsuit. “Uber’s threats and fixed barrage of Prop 22 propaganda on an app the drivers should use to do their work have one objective: to coerce the drivers to assist Uber’s political battle to strip them of office protections.”
Prop 22, a November poll initiative in California, would exempt corporations like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from a California state legislation that requires them to categorise their employees as workers. Drivers for Uber are categorised as impartial contractors who aren’t entitled to extra time pay, paid sick depart, or different advantages. The businesses have spent greater than $186 million on a marketing campaign to assist Prop 22.
The employees are in search of an injunction to stop Uber from exhibiting any additional Prop 22 messages to drivers within the app. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court docket, underneath the California Non-public Attorneys Common Act, which permits workers to sue on behalf of the state, Lowe mentioned. The swimsuit alleges that Uber advised employees that 72 % of its drivers plan to vote sure on Prop 22, which the employees say is “false and deceptive.” The corporate says the survey was performed in Could and June, earlier than there was any messaging within the app.
“That is an absurd lawsuit, with out benefit, filed solely for press consideration and with out regard for the details,” an Uber spokesperson mentioned in an electronic mail to The Verge. “It may possibly’t distract from the reality: that the overwhelming majority of drivers assist Prop 22, and have for months, as a result of they know it’ll enhance their lives and shield the way in which they like to work.”
However this isn’t the primary time Uber has been known as out for its aggressive messaging round Prop 22. Earlier this month, earlier than California customers of the app might name for a experience, they needed to “verify” they’d seen a message that described how wait instances and costs would rise if Prop 22 wasn’t handed (the textual content was later modified to “proceed to experience”). Final week, Uber customers complained on social media about in-app notifications stating that “Prop 22 will save lives,” in an obvious violation of Apple’s app developer settlement which prohibits sending “unsolicited message to clients, together with […] Push Notifications.”