SDOT Two former Uber and Lyft drivers based in Austin, Texas have filed two new proposed class-action lawsuits against those ridesharing companies on Thursday. The drivers allege that they are owed up to 60 days of back pay and other benefits that would be afforded to them as ex-employees under a federal labor law. One case involved driver Todd Johnston taking on Uber; the other involves driver David Thornton taking on Lyft.
These cases, like so many others before it, boil down to whether the drivers are employees or simply independent contractors. If a court were to find that the drivers are employees, Uber’s and Lyft’s bottom line would be significantly impacted as the companies would have to provide health care and many other benefits.
The Austin plaintiffs’ cases, which were filed by the same law firm, center on a federal law known as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act of 1988, which requires companies with more than 100 employees to provide written 60 day notice of any mass layoffs.
Over a month ago, Uber and Lyft ceased operations in Austin after the city required drivers submit to a fingerprinting-based background check. The two companies’ approximately 10,000 drivers were then immediately…