Uber drivers can sue to claim back expenses


A judge has ruled that Uber drivers have the right to claim expenses from the taxi-hire app, in a move that could add hundreds of millions of dollars to any possible payout a court imposes on the firm, reports The Telegraph.

Uber is set to head to court next year to fight a push from its drivers to be treated as employees, not contractors.

Following a ruling in September that allowed workers to sue the company for the ability to receive tips, US District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco said on Wednesday night that they can take legal action to be reimbursed for petrol and vehicle maintenance. Uber drivers currently have to pay these costs themselves.

The judge also potentially added tens of thousands of drivers to the class action lawsuit after overturning his earlier assertion that Uber drivers must have opted out of arbitration in order to join the legal action. Following the earlier ruling, Uber said only a “tiny fraction” of a potential 160,000 California drivers would be eligible to be class members.

Large class actions generally give those who bring a lawsuit more leverage to negotiate a settlement. It is unclear how many drivers will ultimately participate in the Uber case.

Uber said it would appeal the ruling.

“Nearly 90pc of drivers say the main reason they use Uber is because they love being their own boss,” the company said in a statement.

“Drivers use Uber on their own terms; they control their use of the app along with where and when they drive. As employees, drivers would lose the personal flexibility they value most – they would have set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and be unable to use other ridesharing apps.”

Mr Chen also ruled that Uber drivers who work for third-party transportation providers, like limousine companies, could not be part of the case.