After Claiming Wage Theft, Some Uber & Lyft Drivers Are Eligible To Receive A Payout From Landmark $328M Settlement


NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 28: A Lyft decal is seen on a car in the pick-up area at JFK Airport on April 28, 2023 in New York City. Lyft, the ride-hailing app, confirmed that it will be laying off 1,072 employees, which equals to roughly 26% of its corporate workforce. The layoffs were announced last week but no official number was confirmed. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Ride-sharing companies were designed to democratize expensive transportation while empowering drivers to flexibly earn money on their own time. Except, they weren’t being paid much at all.

Or at least that’s what the New York Attorney General’s office formally accused Uber and Lyft of last year based on many wage theft complaints from drivers with the companies. Their outcries ultimately led to a historic $328M class action lawsuit settlement win that will pay the drivers what they’re reportedly owed.

“They stole money from our wages,” said Lamin Jadda, who is both a Lyft and Uber driver. “We worked hard, but the money was not showing in our wage.”

“Thank you for refusing to give up because together we won,” Attorney General Letitia James said during a press conference announcing the landmark win. “Three-hundred and twenty-eight million dollars that will go back to all of the drivers who were denied their fair pay.”

Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said, “Drivers came to our union office saying there’s something off. Why is this money that we thought the passenger is supposed to pay? Why are they taking it from us?”

This issue has been bubbling for awhile, and New York isn’t the only state that has seen disgruntled ride share drivers on the verge of revolt.

As ESSENCE previously reported, last spring, Atlanta area drivers that usually pickup customers at the Hartsfield Airport went on strike.

“It would be a disaster especially if you’re visiting {Atlanta},” Atlanta-native Felicia Slater said in an 11Alive report. “That’s one of the top services you’ll need if you’re trying to get from point A to point B.”

The outlet also pointed out that passengers recognize that Uber’s policies have more built-in provision for customers and not nearly enough for drivers.

“I got to the pickup, (and) he was upset and cursing me out because I had mistaken another man,” an interviewee shared to 11 Alive regarding an incident with an unhappy passenger.

Another person shared how hard it was to continue working as a ride share driver as they contend with rising living costs.

“I do not have enough money to put gas in the car at the end of the day,” Muhammad said. “If I need maintenance I don’t have money to buy a tire.”



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