Uber Technologies Inc., no stranger to litigation brought by its drivers across the country, is now facing a possible class action in federal court in New Jersey. The suit accuses Uber of violating New Jersey wage and hour laws by failing to pay its drivers overtime for working more than 40 hours per week and failing to reimburse them for vehicle costs.
Jaswinder Singh, the named plaintiff in the complaint, a New Jersey resident, drove for Uber for more than one year and regularly exceeded 60 hours of work per week, yet, the lawsuit claims, was not paid an overtime premium of one and a half times his regular rate for the hours that exceeded 40 in a week. Moreover, the suit states that Singh was also required to bear expenses for his vehicle, gas, tolls, mobile phone and other expenses related to his employment, which is unlawful under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law.
Mr. Singh seeks to represent a class of individuals who worked as drivers for Uber as well as Uber X, a related company. The complaint filed in this lawsuit claims that, in accordance with the New Jersey wage statutes, Mr. Singh and the other drivers would be classified as “nonexempt” workers who would be entitled to be paid a premium rate for hours work beyond the normal 40-hour work week. Nonexempt workers are generally those who do not have the authority to hire and fire other employees, do not have the authority to schedule other employees, and do not perform work directly related to the management operations that involved the exercise of discretion or independent judgment over matters of significance.
Uber has faced attack across the United States for many of its employment policies, in particular for its classification of its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. Uber recently settled one such suit for $100 million. With that kind of settlement, we should expect more suits from Uber’s drivers.
If you believe you have been wrongfully denied overtime or benefits, you should contact an experienced employment attorney.