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Uber Settlement Now Allows Tipping

Uber Technologies Inc. submitted a settlement on Apr. 21 for a lawsuit posed by California and Massachusetts drivers vying to be reimbursed for expenses and allowed tips. On top that, workers who have from launch  been classified as independent contractors, want to be reclassified as formal employees. In the settlement terms, it is stated that drivers are allowed to ask for tips, something previously unsupported by Uber, but the classification remains unaltered. After a $100 million mega-settlement, contingent on court approval, unrest still stirs within the app-driven company.

New York Times
If U.S. District Judge Edward Chen denies the settlement terms, Uber could be in for more than they bargained for with a trial set for 20 June 2016. Drivers nationwide, represented by Shannon Liss-Riordan, could claim to be wrongly classified, ballooning into a several-hundred-million-dollar affair.

The root of the matter is that those employed as drivers cannot easily be pigeon-holed into either the contracted or formal category. A formal employee enjoys wage and hour laws, anti-discrimination laws, workers' compensation and unemployment benefits. Uber, by classifying their workers as independent contractors, has gotten away with ignoring such things. Brought to public attention by Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick on 16 September 2014, the settlement, by its end, included 240,000 workers. Expenses one expects to crop up when driving for a living, tolls and gas, were not covered by Uber because of the tricky terms that the company uses in their contract with employees. The settlement is meant to reimburse current and former employees for this oversight.

Another touchy subject is that of tipping. Uber is known for its smooth, cashless transactions as facilitated by its app. Tipping is not a supported feature, nor does Uber plan on adding an option to their payment page. At first, the tip was said to be included in the fare, a portion of which should have then gone to the drivers. Uber did not give the supposed tip to its drivers and, when confronted about this discrepancy, changed their stance on the matter. Apparently, it was not necessary to tip. Outlined in the settlement, the company has agreed to be forthcoming about tips not being included in the fare. However, the driver is held responsible for requisitioning tips through whatever means comfortable.

Kathmandu Post
This problem has been on the rise for what are sometimes called gig or on-demand workers. Happily though, the Uber settlement may deter other similarly-run companies from falling into the same pitfalls. A dialogue on this new field of casual workers will hopefully lead to new lawmaking.



Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver). Follow her @Songbird_Jacqui


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Uber Settlement Now Allows Tipping Reviewed by Jacqueline Litvan on Monday, April 25, 2016 Rating: 5

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