In the most recent class action lawsuit filed against Lyft, claimants are alleging misclassification of their employment status with the popular transportation company. Incorrectly identified as independent contractors, Lyft drivers must adhere to strict standards that would normally fall under the classification of an employee, not an independent contractor. The principal claimant, Donald Brunner Jr., who filed the class action in the Northern District of California is arguing that drivers are not compensated for their overtime, minimum wage, or expense reimbursement. The class action also points to Lyft’s lack of providing itemized wage statements and keeping correct payroll documentation.
Brunner has worked for Lyft since March 2016 and has dedicated 42 to 70 hours a week driving for the transportation network. Although Lyft promotes the benefits of drivers keeping their own tips and having the option of being supplied a vehicle through Lyft, there are also precise conditions that drivers must follow. Drivers may not set their own rates per ride, drivers face consequences if they cancel rides, and drivers only have 15 seconds to accept a ride. Just based on these three factors alone, it is clear to see that Lyft drivers are treated as actual employees. Another huge indication that Lyft drivers should be considered employees and not independent contractors is the extent to which the drivers are integral to the business operation. Without the drivers, Lyft would cease to exist. The company’s business model is to provide a transportation service to those who use their app.
Currently, Lyft is not required by law to pay overtime wages to drivers, as they are categorized as independent contractors. According to the class action, the plaintiff alleges that Lyft continues to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying its drivers. It is the hope of Donald Brunner Jr. and other claimants of the class action, that this misclassification is rectified so drivers may be justly compensated.