Lawsuit Says Uber Forces “Barrage” Of In-App Proposition 22 Propaganda On Drivers
The lawsuit alleges drivers are forced to read Pro-Prop. 22 messages when they open the Uber app to start work.
Uber drivers and nonprofits have filed a new lawsuit against the ridesharing company, alleging it was abusing its economic power to “ban” passengers asking them to vote for Proposition 22.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle¸, the lawsuit was brought in the San Francisco Superior Court by drivers and stakeholders. Overall, claims that Uber violates state laws that prohibit employers from “controlling or instructing” workers to engage in political activity.
The lawsuit provides for at least $ 260 million in damages and injunctive relief.
As the Chronicle notes – and as LegalReader.com previously reported – Proposition 22 would keep drivers and couriers for companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart as independent contractors.
If approved, Proposition 22 would effectively exclude such services from California Assembly Bill 5, which aims to make it difficult for companies to claim that workers are independent contractors, not regular employees.
The bill would also entitle affected contractors to a minimum earnings base as well as some benefits.
Uber logo; Graphic by Sandeepnewstyle, CC BY-SA 4.0, from Wikimedia Commons, no changes.
Uber, who has fought numerous litigation to maintain contractor status for its drivers, claims that most of its drivers prefer the planning flexibility that comes with freelance work. The company has also stated that driver-driven initiatives to secure regular employment reflect a small minority of workers.
The Chronicle notes that Uber and its corporate allies spent hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate advertising in support of Proposition 22. They bought television commercials, distributed letters, and sent bulk text messages.
At the heart of the lawsuit is another tactic used by Uber: the decision to champion Proposition 22 through its own ridesharing application.
Accordingly, the lawsuit alleges that the advertisements shown to drivers through the Uber app are “targeting a captive audience whose members are economically dependent on the platform”.
According to the court record, the reports contain “factually unsubstantiated claims that [Uber’s] California drivers will lose their jobs. “
“Uber uses extremely compulsive tactics to get its workers to stand up for Uber’s preferred political position,” said attorney David Lowe, who represents the plaintiffs along with Legal Aid at Work.
“Let’s be absolutely clear,” said Lowe, “Uber’s threats and the constant flurry of Prop. 22 propaganda in an app that drivers use to get their jobs done are for one purpose: to force drivers into Uber’s political battle to take them out of their jobs. ” Protection. “
Uber has since implied that the lawsuit is unfounded.
“This is an absurd lawsuit,” said an Uber spokesman, “filed for no merit, just for the attention of the press, and without regard to the facts.”
“It can’t distract from the truth,” added Uber.[which is] that the vast majority of drivers support Prop. 22 and have been doing so for months, knowing it will improve their lives and protect the way they want to work. “
The Verge notes that this is not the first time Uber has been accused of sending unsolicited or forced text messages to passengers and drivers alike. Earlier this month, Uber came under fire for forcing passengers to “confirm” they had seen a message explaining how Proposition 22 may affect pricing and waiting times before they are allowed to book a ride .
Lawsuit: Uber abuses power with Prop. 22 ads in driver apps
Uber in the lawsuit accused of bullying drivers on its app in support of Prop 22