Uber Breach Exposed Personal Data of Over 25 Million Americans
Apr 15 2018
US District Judge Michael Baylson, sitting in Philadelphia, rejected calls from drivers for UberBlack, the company's limo division, to be treated as employees with all of the perks that go with.
The legal classification of workers has been a major issue for "gig economy" companies that rely on independent contractors.
In a statement given to this news organization, Uber said it was pleased with Judge Baylson's decision. The ride-sharing company faced charges over how it monitored employee access to its users' personal data and for "failing to reasonably secure" data in a third-party cloud.
According to a report from Bloomberg, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, Jeremy Abay, said he would appeal the ruling to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Philadelphia. The judge then determined that, when looking at the "totality of the circumstances" demonstrated that "UberBLACK drivers can work as little or as much as they want - the hallmark of a lack of [the traditional relationship] with an alleged employer - [a] factor weigh [ing] heavily in favor of Plaintiffs' independent contractor status".
Numerous cases filed against Uber have been sent to arbitration, but the plaintiffs in the Philadelphia case were among a small minority of drivers who had opted not to sign arbitration agreements with the company. Florida ruled that Uber drivers aren't employees.
The new settlement confirms details of that incident, well understood by now, in which hackers accessed an Amazon Web Services account "access key" stored on code sharing site GitHub, allowing them to download unencrypted files containing the sensitive personal data. The judge sided with Uber and granted their motion, entering judgment in favor of Uber as a matter of law.
That said, California has also ruled that GrubHub delivery drivers aren't employees, so there's still some confusion there. The plaintiffs said Uber failed to pay them minimum wage and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which only applies to employees.
The case is Razak v. Uber Technologies Inc, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 2:16-cv-00573.