Uber recent filed suit against the city of Seattle, arguing that the city overstepped its rulemaking authority by interfering with employment and independent contractor agreements between the companies and its drivers.

Specifically, the city’s proposed rules—which were poised to go into effect last month—created collective bargaining opportunities for both transportation network and cab company drivers (including those who drive for Uber and Lyft). Uber is now arguing that the rules are arbitrary and capricious, and fail to properly consider the facts and circumstances of the drivers and the industry, as well as labor law precedent.

The City’s Law & Challenges

Seattle is the first city to pass a law like this. It establishes a process allowing independently contracted drivers the opportunity to form a nonprofit organization to collectively bargain on their behalf. First challenged in court by the US Chamber of Commerce in August 2016, the judge declared that the lawsuit was not yet ripe to bring at that time—i.e. not until the city moved forward with the law’s (or rules’) actual implementation. Following this decision, the city published its rules online, specifying which drivers it would allow to unionize, which working conditions were subject to bargaining, and how organizations could become certified to represent drivers.

Uber’s complaint alleges that the law is inconsistent with fundamental labor laws, which are designed to ensure that every worker has a voice in whether or not they should or would like to be represented by a labor organization. The complaint calls the approach taken by the city “piecemeal,” failing to engage and provide the public with the ability to comment on the proposed rules before they went into effect, as well as omitting representation for thousands of drivers who allegedly won’t be able to vote under the law. The company also alleges that there are significant gaps in the rules, such as guidance concerning unlawful coercion and interference, as well as how future for-hire drivers will be included in the process.

Uber has requested that the Court immediately suspend implementation of the rules and declare them invalid. A hearing on the lawsuit has been scheduled for March 17th.

Birmingham & Mobile, Alabama Attorneys Dedicated To Representing Businesses

One of the most common types of business disputes are employment-related disputes, thus, it is crucial that businesses in Alabama ensure that their businesses are established and run so as to prevent a broad spectrum of potential conflicts.

At Cloud Willis & Ellis, we have a proven track record of assisting businesses with any and all corporate legal issues such as employment agreements, business plan development, business entity formations, human resources issues, and any and all legal issues related to business law. Contact our offices in Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama for assistance today.