A lawsuit alleging Uber systematically underpays its drivers is now heading to trial after being granted class-action status earlier this week. The original litigation was filed in early 2017 and claimed the startup is violating its Technology Services Agreement signed with Martin Dulberg and many other drivers in December of 2015 by not paying them what they agreed on, i.e. 80-percent of every fare. Over 9,000 existing and former Uber drivers have dismissed the possibility of arbitration in the meantime and have now been allowed to join forces as part of a class-action lawsuit against the company, with the case being certified as such on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge William Haskell Alsup, the same one who presided over Uber's recently concluded legal clash with Alphabet's Waymo and who was the presiding judge in Oracles litigation versus Google over the latter's use of certain Java APIs in Android.
The trial at San Francisco-based U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to start on October 29. The many alleged cases of shortchanging cited by the plaintiffs range from Uber paying 70-percent to around 79-percent of their fares but consistently failing to pay the full 80-percent mandated by its Technology Services Agreement that serves as the basis for becoming an Uber driver. The ride-hailing service provider has yet to comment on the development in an official capacity but the firm reportedly had a similar issue with some of its New York drivers in recent years, having accidentally underpaid them by tens of millions of dollars in total over a period of two and a half years.
The case is unlikely to be a major issue for Uber that's now moving past an extremely chaotic year which led to the departure of its CEO Travis Kalanick and saw the company involved in a wide variety of clashes with rivals and regulators around the world. Mr. Kalanick's successor Dara Khosrowshahi has hence been on an apology tour ever since taking over the startup last August. Uber is presently looking to continue repairing its public image while targeting an initial public offering in 2019 and may become profitable in 2021, according to Mr. Khosrowsahi's recent statements.