Should You Join the Uber Class Action Settlement?

If you’ve been driving for Uber for a while, you may have received an email or a postcard in the mail about a class action settlement asking you to submit a claim form, or notifying you of a lawsuit. What does this mean, and what do you need to do, if anything?

In this video & post, I cover the Uber class action settlement: How to know if it’s legit, what the settlement is, how to see if you qualify, and how to make a claim so you can get paid if that’s what you want to do.

Take a look at the video, then scroll down to read the video transcript to see all of the points I cover.

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There are several ongoing Uber class action lawsuits

There are actually a few notable class action settlements going on right now that have been brought against Uber.

Background checks

I recently got an email and a few questions from viewers about a settlement background checks that Uber conducted in 2015 and before. And basically, this class actions came down to a lawsuit saying that Uber should not have taken action against drivers due to their background checks. In this case, this class action has actually already been settled, and there’s a $7.5 million payout coming to drivers.

California and Massachusetts: Are drivers employees or contractors?

But that’s not the only class action. There’s another one in California and Massachusetts about whether drivers are employees or not. This is the famous O’Connor versus Uber case that’s been in the news a lot. And this one was also actually already settled for $100 million, but the judge objected, and there’s some other objections, and now the settlement is actually back to negotiations, so you can’t make a claim on that one right now, but you will be able to in the future.

A big lawsuit over the hacking incident

And most recent one is over this huge hack that Uber basically had, and then subsequently covered up. Now, this one hasn’t gone to trial, or really, it’s just sort of getting started. I have a feeling that one’s gonna be a pretty big one, too.

What should you do about these lawsuits? What are your options?

If you’re over there thinking there are a lot of class actions that I need to be aware of, but at the end of the day, you kind of want to understand how they work, so that if you want to either participate or not participate, or even make a claim and get paid, you kind of have to understand the basics.

I’m not going to pretend to be a lawyer. I’ve watched a couple episodes of Law and Order in my day, but basically it looks like you have a few options if you’re a part of one of these class actions.

You can do nothing. You can receive no payment from the settlement, you give up any rights that you might have to sue Uber or Lyft or whoever the defendant is and, you know, in the claims resolved by the settlements. So that would be Option A, doing absolutely nothing.

You can submit a claim form. Let’s say it comes to a settlement like this background check case and there’s $7.5 million settlement. In order to actually get paid, the only way is to submit a claim, usually either online or they’ll send you a postcard in the mail and you can fill that out and you have to do it by a certain date. And when you accept that settlement you also give up any rights that you might have to sue Uber on your own, for example. Which I think is pretty reasonable because most people are not going to go suing Uber over these kinds of minor issues and you probably would be pretty tough to find a lawyer willing to take that case or they’d be really expensive.

You can request to be excluded and receive no benefits from the settlement. This is really the only option that allows you to start your own lawsuit. Let’s say you’re not happy with the settlement or let’s say you just want to bring your own case, which I think again is going to be pretty rare. You can’t participate in the class action and get paid and then also go back and sue Uber. That kind of defeats the point.

You can object to the settlement. Let’s say it’s $7.5 million and you feel that it should be a lot higher, you can actually write to the court or you can go in person. Usually they have a day where they’ll actually hear people that are part of the class can object.

How to join a class action suit

The tricky thing is that you might actually get contacted from time to time by these lawyers because typically what happens is Uber will have to turn over all of the names and addresses and emails to these lawyers as part of the class action. You might get messages that look pretty spammy and kind of look like a phishing attempt, and I’ve gotten little postcards in the mail too.

Those tend to look more legit, but some of the emails I’ve gotten look kind of amateur because I feel like even some of the ones I’ve gotten have been from a gmail but they ended up being legit. So be careful. Make sure that it’s going to the official lawsuit website and don’t just take an email at face value. If you want to get paid at a certain point you’re going to need to submit that claim form to these lawyers and not Uber, and you shouldn’t have to submit your social security number or anything like that.

They will ask you for some basic information like your address, your name, your phone number and probably if you were driving for Uber or Lyft or at the time or whatever. Just make sure that you really carefully read these things. Maybe verify it with another driver, too, who should be part of that class action just to make sure it’s not a phishing or a spam or a scam type thing.

Can Uber or Lyft retaliate if you join a class action suit?

One common situation that comes up is a lot of drivers are worried about retaliation from Uber and Lyft if they join one of these class action settlements, or if they make a claim to get payment. And if you decide to file a claim form, Uber is not legally allowed to penalize you for joining in on the claim.

They cannot deactivate you for joining in on this claim. It’s a huge offense if they were to do that and if they’re already getting sued, they’re probably, you know, going to try and keep things above board.

If you want to join in on one of these lawsuits, I definitely wouldn’t worry about retaliation from Uber or Lyft. I honestly haven’t heard of a single case of some driver opting in and then getting retaliated by Uber or Lyft directly. I really wouldn’t let that stop you if you’re thinking about doing this.

Is it worth it?

The process can be a little bit confusing and there are no shortage of class action lawsuits going on against Uber and Lyft. If you’re trying to think whether it’s worth it or not, the payout probably isn’t going to be huge. $7.5 million sounds like a lot, but over 100,000 drivers that might only be $25 or $50 after the lawyer’s cut.

I think that it’s not going to be a huge boon to your income, but at the same time there are a lot of these lawsuits going on, so I suspect that if you were to be a part of the class in all of these lawsuits, your earnings might add up to a few hundred bucks or maybe even potentially more.

It’s a personal choice if you want to be involved in this lawsuit or not, but I think if you do want to, you definitely have the green light from me. And if you guys have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to leave them below. All right, drive safe everyone.

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