Skift Take

Uber needs to remember that it is still a few years off from having self-driving cars. For now it needs to keep its humans happy.

Uber Technologies Inc. is asking its drivers nationwide to sign a re-worded contract that restricts their right to sue in an escalation of a battle over whether they should be treated as employees.

The ride-share company started circulating the new work agreements Friday, two days after a federal judge vastly expanded a California class action over pay and benefits by ruling. The judge ruled Uber improperly required tens of thousands of drivers to resolve disputes through arbitration instead of in court.

Drivers were told by Uber Friday that they must sign the new agreement to continue working for the company but that they have a choice to opt out of certain provisions.

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer for the drivers, called Uber’s re-worded agreement an attempt to “get around the court’s decision,” which legal experts said likely added the vast majority of Uber’s 160,000 California drivers and hundreds of millions in damages to the case.

The new agreement is “an illegal attempt by Uber to usurp the court’s role” in figuring out which drivers can be included in the class action, Liss-Riordan said.

Uber, meanwhile, says the agreement was endorsed Thursday by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco, and that the company isn’t aiming to enforce provisions in the new agreement against drivers “who are part of any certified class.”

“We believe strongly that our agreements are valid, but we are making some changes and clarifications to remove uncertainty for drivers and for us as we work through our multiple appeals on this issue,” Matt Kallman, an Uber spokesman, said in an e-mail.

The case is O’Connor v. Uber Technologies Inc., 13- cv-03826, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

This article was written by Peter Blumberg from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Subscribe to Skift Pro

Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)

Subscribe Now

Tags: labor, uber

Photo Credit: An Uber car is seen parked with the driver's lunch left on the dashboard in Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States July 15, 2015. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters