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Bay Area Uber drivers in a worker misclassification lawsuit ask lead lawyer to step down

TechCrunch TechCrunch 2/06/2016 Sarah Buhr

A group of angry Uber drivers say they’ve been screwed over by their own lawyers in a worker misclassification lawsuit and are asking lead attorney representing the drivers in the case, ShannonLiss-Riordan, to step down.

Uber drivers filed a class-action lawsuit claiming they have been misclassified as independent contractors and should be compensated by Uber for expenses like health insurance, gas and vehicle maintenance.

The worker-misclassification settlement proposal includes $84 million in payment, with an additional $16 million should Uber have a successful IPO.

But the proposal doesn’t begin to cover driver expenses. Payouts would amount to a mere $218 – peanuts – for most of the 385,000 drivers in the suit.

However, the drivers lawyers stand to gain a significant $25 million (25 percent of the settlement as their cut) for their firm if the proposal goes through.

Drivers say Liss-Riordan “struck a bad deal in their name” and that they stand to lose a “significant number” of protections and benefits if they are forced to sign away their rights under the current arrangement.

“When lawyers, lobbyists, and executives push policies that make themselves richer, we end up paying the price. Everybody is getting rich off of our work, while as Uber drivers we often have to take ‘negative rides,’ where we earn nothing, and hope an accident doesn’t bankrupt us. We are coming to the public so that everyone can know that we are getting hurt by these unfair Uber regulations and that this is how economic inequality happens.

We’ve reached out to Liss-Riordan and Uber for comment on the matter but have yet to hear back. We’ll be sure to update this piece when and if they do.

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