Uber can't dodge assault lawsuit due to contract drivers

Uber can't dodge assault lawsuit because of contract drivers

Getty / Adam Berry

Uber drivers might legally be contractors slightly than staff, however that does not absolve the corporate of legal responsibility in assault instances. A federal decide in California has denied the journey-sharing firm’s movement to dismiss a lawsuit for assaults towards two riders. One among Uber’s essential arguments was that the drivers aren’t staff, so it is not liable for his actions. Nevertheless, the decide dominated that “plaintiffs have alleged adequate information to say plausibly that an employment relationship exists.”

Uber additionally argued that in a single case, the driving force wasn’t utilizing the Uber app when he picked up the feminine sufferer. Nevertheless, the decide shot that down too, as a result of the passenger nonetheless believed the attacker “was appearing in his capability as an Uber driver,” since he had picked up her group earlier.

It is yet one more decide independently agreeing that at the very least so far as it seems, Uber is treating these drivers extra like staff than like unbiased contractors.

The journey-sharing agency argued that it could’t be held liable as a result of “sudden sexual assaults by staff are outdoors the scope of an worker’s duties and can’t help employer legal responsibility.” Nevertheless, the decide identified that for the needs of the case, Uber is a “widespread service” like a taxi firm, and obligation-sure to guard passenger from assault. As well as, the corporate allegedly failed to identify an assault conviction of one of many drivers in 2003, as a result of its background checks solely return seven years.

The case brings up extra questions concerning the security of Uber’s service — the corporate just lately admitted it had one hundred seventy complaints of sexual assault between 2012 and 2015, together with 5 rapes. Jeanne Christensen, the lawyer for the plaintiffs advised Buzzfeed that “I might hope now that when claims are delivered to legal professionals they will head to the web and see this determination and really feel extra assured bringing a lawsuit.” Moreover, she feels that the regardless of the choice that drivers aren’t staff, regulation courts aren’t essentially seeing it that method. “It is another decide independently agreeing that a minimum of so far as it seems, Uber is treating these drivers extra like staff than like unbiased contractors.”