Judge Won’t Force Uber to Treat California Drivers as Employees

A federal judge on Monday refused to make Uber reclassify drivers as employees in California, despite claims the alleged misclassification deprives the state of tax dollars and increases its spending on public assistance for low-paid workers.

Rejecting claims that a proposed injunction would primarily benefit the general public, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen declined to treat the requested relief as a motion for a “public injunction” as defined in the 2017 Fifth Appellate District ruling McGill v. Citibank.

Uber driver and lead plaintiff Thomas Colopy “is seeking a private, not public, injunction,” Chen wrote in his 18-page ruling.

Chen noted the Ninth Circuit strongly disfavors granting class-wide injunctions in cases like Colopy’s where a class has not yet been certified. He further emphasized that because many California Uber drivers have signed arbitration agreements barring them from pursuing labor disputes in court, “the number of drivers entitled to injunctive relief is likely to be a small subset of all drivers.”