Ridesharing company Uber is being sued by a class of 96,000 NYC drivers seeking repayment for fees deducted from their fares.
The Verge reports that Uber drivers in New York City are suing the ride-sharing app for allegedly failing to repay taxes that were deducted from drivers’ earnings. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which has been a vocal critic of Uber, filed the suit which represents 96,000-plus Uber drivers in New York City who worked for the firm between 2013 and 2017.
The lawsuit alleges that Uber deducted sales tax and a surcharge called the Black Car Fund from drivers between 2013 and 2017. Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the Taxi Workers Alliance, said in a statement: “Uber bosses are raking in millions while drivers struggle to feed their families. Uber’s business model depends on exploiting vulnerable low-wage workers — including by stealing from driver pay. But time and time again, when workers fight back, we beat Uber even with all their billions.”
The Black Car Fund was created under a state law in 1999 to cover injured drivers’ medical costs and lost wages, the fund adds a fee to every Uber, Lyft, and traditional cab fare. The fee has been 2.5 percent since 2013. Uber has previously been accused of failing to pay back taxes taken from drivers’ earnings; in 2017 the firm admitted to incorrectly calculating driver commissions based on earnings that included state taxes instead of pretax amounts. Uber promised to repay lost earnings in that instance but did not disclose how much that would be.
Now, the Taxi Workers Alliance is alleging that Uber put the cost of those taxes and surcharges on drivers in addition to charging a service fee. An Uber spokesperson declined to comment on the issue when contacted by The Verge.
The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan on November 6, the same day that Uber’s lockup period expires meaning that early investors may decide to dump the company’s stock aggressively until the end of the year.